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Near-complete Firefox OS shown off at CES

Elliot Bentley
firefoxos1

Version 1.0 of Mozilla’s web-centric smartphone OS will go GA in two weeks, say Mozilla reps in Las Vegas.

The
first big project to emerge from the non-profit foundation in many
years, Firefox OS is a full-blown smartphone operating system which
runs only web apps (even the lock screen is HTML).

Last year, we covered
‘5 reasons to be excited about… Firefox OS’
, and since then
Mozilla has been quietly working away on Firefox OS, polishing its
WebAPIs, releasing a
1.0
desktop simulator
and producing Xcode-style templates for
apps
.

But at CES in Las Vegas this week, the reality has hit home: what
once seemed just a pipe dream is fast becoming a solid, tangible
product. Among the giant televisions and ultrabooks on display is a
generic smartphone with an ARMv6 CPU and 256MB of RAM: a humble
device running what Mozilla reps claimed to be a feature-complete
version of the OS.

Engadget were one of several publications to get some hands-on time
with the phone, and while little is actually shown
in the video
– there was no wi-fi available, apparently – the
Verge
report
that the source code is to be frozen in two weeks’ time,
ready to ship.

Aside from this tantalizing promise of a finished 1.0 version, the
real news is that Firefox OS is – perhaps optimistically – being
considered commercially viable enough to be shown off at a
mainstream consumer technology show, rather than an enthusiast
conference.

As the operating system nears fruition we’ll hopefully see the
first commercial devices, produced by Chinese handset manufacturers
ZTE and TCL Corporation, on sale later this year. Mozilla are
initially aiming at the South American market, but carriers already

promising to sell Firefox OS devices
include Smart, Sprint,
Telecom Italia, Telenor, Telefónica and Deutsche Telekom.

If you’re interested in developing for Firefox OS, Mozilla are
putting on
free ‘Firefox OS App Days’ events
around the world at the end
of January, which will include talks and hacking.

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