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Mozilla's Firefox OS demoed, coming to emerging markets later this year (hands-on)

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Firefox OS
Firefox OS

Mozilla is at CES showing off its upcoming Firefox mobile OS on a prototype device. It's come a long way since we saw it as "Boot to Gecko" back at MWC last February, and now looks a bit more like a fully-fledged operating system — Mozilla say it's two weeks from being completed. It's aimed at low-end, low-cost devices, and will be restricted to single-core 800MHz processors at launch. Mozilla's UI philosophy here is similar to Android: unlocking the phone takes you to a homescreen that can display your favorite apps and bookmarks, with the rest of your apps stored in an app drawer. Unlike Android, however, it's entirely HTML5 based — most of the apps are simply websites, and although there's a store planned you'll also be able to find apps through a built-in search engine based on SEO.

Firefox does show some promise; the overall aesthetic, although perhaps a little more child-like than other OSes, is very pleasant, and Mozilla has obviously put a lot of thought into the UI. For now though, t's difficult to get a real impression of what it'll be like on a competitive device. Mozilla does plan to target more powerful devices, but for now it's expecting its manufacturing partners — ZTE was named — to launch devices in South America and other emerging markets later this year.