Mozilla has announced an aggressive update schedule, a new ‘feature update’ of its Firefox OS smartphone operating system set to be released each quarter, and security releases on a six-week schedule.
The regular update schedule, dubbed the “heartbeat” release schedule, will mean the synchronisation of updates across the desktop versions of the Firefox web browser, the tablet version for Android and the Firefox OS smartphone platform.
In a statement, Mozilla Release Management Team manager Alex Keybl says Mozilla is aiming to get a new version out far more frequently than updates for either Google Android or Apple iOS.
“As far as I know, that’s the most aggressive mobile OS release strategy out there (and may still require some tweaking).
“This heartbeat enables us to push a unified vision across the entire web, keep our users regularly delighted with new (many times cross-platform) functionality, and prevent any one product from lagging behind in security updates,” Keybl says.
Keybl also says the release of the smartphone platform has led to pressures on Mozilla’s development team, but that users of all versions of Firefox can expect more regular updates in the future.
“We’ve also had to juggle the timelines and requirements of all of the OEMs, carriers, and chipset manufacturers that we’ve partnered with. These new variables lead us to standardize on Gecko 18 for our first two major releases of Firefox OS. It made us ‘skip a beat’, but for all the right reasons,” Keybl says.
Earlier this month, Mozilla began shipping the first consumer smartphone to run Firefox OS, the ZTE Open, through Spanish carrier Telefónica España.
The platform uses a mobile version of the Firefox web browser as a platform for running platform-independent web apps coded in HTML5, which have the same access to a smartphone’s underlying capabilities in the Firefox OS as native apps have under iOS and Android.
The aim is to have apps written in web standard languages (including HTML5, CSS, and Java) and therefore be able to work on any device that supports Firefox.