Personal Tech

Panasonic will go Firefox OS for TVs

And VIA to launch Mozilla-friendly devices

By Richard Chirgwin

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CES 2014 Panasonic has used CES to announce that it's going to work with Mozilla to build smart TVs based on the Firefox OS.

Whatever you think about smart TVs, the vendors remain utterly committed to the idea that more computing power and a user interface driven through the remote control is the future of the idiot box.

To date, much of the work has been in-house, with capabilities written as embedded software projects. As more features get packed into the TV, vendors are looking outside to relieve themselves of some of that development effort. According to Panasonic, its choice was based on the openness of the Firefox OS, and its use of HTML5.

As well as reducing its own OS development efforts, the adoption of Firefox OS will give third party developers the ability to create apps for the TVs, Panasonic says.

The Panasonic announcement notes that “next generation smart TVs will gain full compatibility with Web technologies and HTML5 standards used for cloud services and various future networked devices, enabling data from Web services and devices to be easily mashed up on a single application.”

The consumer electronics outfit hopes that by taking advantage of Mozilla's WebAPIs, ISVs will create apps that pack capabilities like controlling and monitoring smart home devices, using the TV as the interface (presuming that consumers will abandon the smartphone apps already emerging for just this purpose).

Other CES announcements from Mozilla include ZTE's commitment to launch more Firefox OS-based phones; expanded developer support under the Firefox Contribution Program, and support from APC in the form of VIA devices designated Paper and Rock, running Firefox OS. ®

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