Firefox smartphone users won’t be locked into Mozilla Marketplace, open standards to lure Android and Apple developers

Mozilla has divulged more details of its Firefox smartphone strategy, revealing that users won’t be locked into the Mozilla marketplace, with development in open, web-based languages such as HTML5 to be key to luring Apple and Android developers.

In an interview with TechWeek Europe, Mozilla Europe president Tristan Nitot explained how apps would work on the platform:

“In terms of architecture, it is an operating system based on Linux, just as Android is. But we rely on Gecko, the Firefox web browser layout engine, to run applications written entirely in HTML5.”

“Even native applications, such as the dialler or address book, are written in HTML5, and users will be able to examine the source code to check it.”

According to Nitot, Firefox smartphones will be more like PCs in that users will be able to download apps from any website, without using an app store such as Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

“Applications can, for example, be installed directly from a website, without going through the Marketplace. There will be several application stores and applications can be submitted for free.”

Central to Mozilla’s strategy is the hope open web standards will be able to lure developers away from Apple’s iPhone and Google Android.

“No need to learn the development languages of Apple or Google. It’s enough to adapt a site to the dimensions of a smartphone and then eventually take advantage of hardware features such as GPS, touchscreen and accelerometer, that go with these screens.”

“We also believe that developers will overwhelmingly support our approach, because 75% of applications are already designed in HTML5, with an overlay to fit smartphones from Apple or Google.”

SmartCompany recently reported that Mozilla has already signed smartphone makers ZTE and Alcatel to build devices based on its platform, and is redirecting resources from other projects, such as the Thunderbird email client, to work on the project.

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