From the ‘Counter-intuitive’ files:
Apparently Mozilla officially launched Firefox OS yesterday.
The first Firefox OS powered phones are set to debut – soon – Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica will release the first Firefox OS devices.
This is a big win for the open mobile web – unless of course the carriers lock down their Firefox OS devices. Since Firefox OS is essentially – the web – locking down a Firefox OS device won’t be an easy thing to do. Users via their browser, do what browsers are supposed to do, they browse the web.
The Firefox Marketplace – the app store of the open web world – is the gateway for Firefox OS – and its maturity or lack thereof at launch will be the item that makes or breaks Firefox OS.
There is little doubt in my mind that Firefox OS will gain traction. It’s a royalty free open source system that is open, what’s not to like?
The Apple people are sure to love Firefox OS too.
The type of user that is likely going to be attracted to Firefox OS is the price conscious user that thinks Android devices are too expensive. I strongly suspect that if Firefox OS gains traction it will do so at the expense of Android. Firefox OS if successful will further fragment the choices available versus Apple IOS.
Apple has very strong brand loyalty, I’m not so sure that Google (or its myriad hardware vendors) have anything quite the same for Android. Apple’s CEO likes to talk about fragmentation on Android and the Android naysayers love to talk about security. Firefox OS will only add further fuel to that fire, inevitably and indirectly helping Apple.
Another entrant in the mobile space with big carrier backing will also help to shift those that are still on feature-phones to finally move to the modern era. For better or for worse, Apple is the leader in the modern smartphone world and as those new smartphone users start to get used to the new world order, if Firefox OS apps don’t match the quality of IOS, I suspect those users ($$ permitting) will look at Apple too.
Yes Firefox OS is a win for the open web.
It will not lock users/developers down with objective-c or Java bindings. It’s a brilliant (and obvious) innovation that makes sense. It is however entering a crowded market and in that crowd, Apple has the most to gain.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.