Mozilla offers the first proper look at their Boot2Gecko phone OS

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; I’m rather excited about Mozilla’s upcoming smartphone OS, Boot 2 Gecko (or B2G if you’re too lazy to keep typing it out, which I am). Y’see, it’s long been said that it’ll be similar to Google’s ChromeOS, in that it’ll be one of those “OS in a browser” things, and while I was a bit unsure when they first announced it, I am growing to love the idea.

Today, I’ve grown to love it a bit more, ‘cos look! We have our first screenshots (courtesy of ArsTechnica)! Not only that, but we have some more info about how B2G works and I’m damnably intrigued.

And I shall tell ya why…

Y’see, there’s three layers to the OS; there’s the kernel, at the bottom and it’s a modified Linux kernel called Gonk. That kernel also includes a fair few of the components used in Android, so there’s some pedigree there, and in fact, there’s footage knocking about of B2G being tested on a Samsung Galaxy S II. So, basically, it’s like Android, then?

Well, actually, no, ‘cos the most interesting bit is what’s going on in the other two layers. The next layer up is Gecko, and it’s basically the rendering engine from Mozilla’s Firefox browser. So, yes, the middle bit of the sandwich is the “browser” bit of “OS in a browser”, but if the main powerhouse part of the OS is a browser, then what are we, the users, seeing at the top layer?

What we’ll be seeing as we use a phone on B2G is the Gaia UI, and this bit really has me intrigued, ‘cos it’s all built with standard HTML and Javascript. Effectively, the user interface that you’re interacting with is a web page, that’s stored locally on the phone, and things like the phone dialler and camera app are just Javascript web apps.

And yet, they’re providing pretty much the exact same experience we’d get from other smartphones. Magic!

So yeah, this beastie is apparently due to be officially unveiled, in all its glory, at the Mobile World Congress (which is happening the week after next, so we don’t have long to wait), but Mozilla are teasing that they already have hardware partners lined up, including one who’s doing some pretty heavy customisation of the overall UI. I wonder who that could be; my money is on either HTC or Samsung, or maybe a Chinese manufacturer like ZTE.

Anyway, I guess we’ll find out in a week and a bit…

More news as it happens! And be sure to subscribe now to get all the latest action from the world of mobile phones!

This entry was posted in Mobile Phone Blogs, Smartphone blogs and tagged , , , , , on by .

About TechnicalMarkus

It's a little known fact Technical Markus has now beaten both his Transformers addiction AND his Mass Effect addiction, by replacing both with an equally obsessive addiction to XCOM: Enemy Unknown and buying Humble Bundles for his Android phone. At the moment, he's pondering the actual usefulness of smartwatches and smart glasses, even if the nerd in him is shouting for joy at how sci-fi they are. He spends his spare time being whinged at to figure out what's wrong with other people's mobile phones, and drinking unimaginable quantities of tea. With milk. And three sweeteners, thanks for asking. Oh, and he's got an HTC One X, but he reckons his next phone might be a Sony, the turncoat...