LG is teaming up with Mozilla to offer the first Firefox smartphones. What can we expect from the Firefox OS, slated for release around mid-year?
Mozilla showed off Firefox OS for the first time at the Mobile World Congress Show in February. The operating system looks like Apple's iOS and Google's Android, but the key difference is that it's entirely Web-based. Instead of running apps from the phone, Firefox relies on a constant Internet connection to run apps directly from the Web. You don't download apps, you "pin" them to your screen for easy access later.
Since Web-based apps don't require many system resources, Firefox phones can be less sophisticated than iPhones and Android phones, and therefore much less expensive. LG plans to release the first Firefox phones in "developing markets," where lower cost smartphones are more desirable.
The Firefox Marketplace is designed to unlock powerful Web apps for low-end phones, including popular apps like Twitter, Wikipedia and Facebook. During the Mobile World Congress presentation, Mozilla showed off the Web version of Zepto Labs' popular "Cut the Rope" game. The demo showed that the Firefox OS is capable of delivering a smooth frame rate even for complex games.
Another key differentiator is the operating system's search function. The search app allows you to search your apps, Firefox Marketplace apps and the Web all at the same time, helping you find and store what you're looking for quickly and easily.
If you've always wanted a smartphone but couldn't afford the iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4, watch out for the new Firefox phone. See for yourself how the system will operate by downloading the Firefox OS Simulator 3.0 add-on to your Firefox browser.
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