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Mozilla moots open source web OS for mobiles

Chrome for phones?

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Mozilla has revealed plans to create an open-source web-centric operating system along the lines of Google's Chrome OS but designed to compete with Android on phones and tablets.

The Boot to Gecko project will "pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web" in a bid to "displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development".

According to Dr. Andrea Gal, a Mozilla researcher and one of the four minds behind the proposal, Boot to Gecko seeks to plug "the gaps that keep web developers from being able to build apps that are - in every way - the equals of native apps built for the iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7".

Gal admits the endeavour is a long way for completion, and he identified a number of key challenges that need to be overcome for the project to succeed.

First, the team must create web APIs to make use of a mobile's primary capabilities, such as Telephony, SMS, Camera, USB, Bluetooth and NFC. Then they have to develop a way for web pages and apps to access them safely, before building a prototype on an Android-device along with applications to utilise the system and prioritise the power.

As you might have gathered, Boot to Gecko is still very much in its infancy, but Mozilla is seeking more expertise to make it happen. We'll let you know when we hear more. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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