Firefox OS for developers – the platform HTML5 deserves

Over the next few weeks we will publish a series of short videos here that explain what Firefox OS means for developers and how you can be part of the revolution it brings to the world.


In various conversations we’ve repeatedly heard from developers that they view Firefox OS as simply a third player in the mobile space next to Android and iOS. This is not exactly what we are trying to achieve. Firefox OS is unique in its approach as it doesn’t target the high-end markets already saturated by other platforms. Instead its goal is to replace feature phones in markets that have no access to high-end smartphones or aren’t even considered in closed application mechanisms like marketplaces. Furthermore we wanted to create the first truly open and web-standards based ecosystem and mobile operating system – nothing in Firefox OS is closed or alien to the Web.

This is why we recorded this video series to explain in a short and simple fashion where you can go to get started as a developer for Firefox OS and how this means writing HTML5 without the limitations other platforms have in place for web-standards based applications.

Today we start with a short video featuring Chris Heilmann (@codepo8) from Mozilla and Daniel Appelquist (@torgo) from Telefónica Digital/ W3C talking about the goals of Firefox OS. You can watch the video here.

Resources mentioned in the video are:

We hope you enjoy this and that it answers a few of the questions you had about Firefox OS. Watch this space for more videos in this series.

About Chris Heilmann

Evangelist for HTML5 and open web. Let's fix this!

More articles by Chris Heilmann…


  1. maxw3st

    Thanks for the links. Looking forward to the rest of the video series.

    June 20th, 2013 at 16:27

  2. abf2

    I know this has nothing to do with the content of the article, but I found the random camera angle switching distracting. Maybe this is my own problem, but instead of focusing 100 percent on what they were saying, I was counting the number of cameras and trying to work out whether the switches were to edit out talking (almost none of them were), to focus on the new speaker or a visible reaction from the listener (several of them were), to signify a new thought or side note, etc (probably none of them) or completely random (most of them).

    June 20th, 2013 at 19:01

    1. Caspy7

      I have to agree that the camera angle switching was far too much and quite distracting.

      It seems they could have done this with just one camera. If they feel a second necessary for editing, so be it, but there’s no need to flip between them so quickly.
      I too ended up missing content because of the jarring nature of editing.

      June 21st, 2013 at 10:52

  3. Pierre

    Nice video!

    I know thes preview devices do not have an NFC chip, but what are the plans of Mozilla and/or the W3C regarding access to NFC information (like when you perform a tap with your device, etc.)?

    Also, what about access to Secure Elements (for instance on a SIM card, on a microSD device, or directly baked into the device)?

    Thanks for the answer!

    June 20th, 2013 at 19:12

    1. bardu

      +1 for NFC

      June 21st, 2013 at 16:42

    2. Flaki

      Initial devices and first releases of the Firefox OS operating system will lack NFC support, though, the standards work needed (Web NFC specification & API) is already in the making and is bin pretty good shape, so it’s definitely coming; sooner rather than later.

      Regarding Secure Elements there is not much I can tell you about with regard to Firefox OS and the Open We APIs, although with the coming of NFC access I would expect the need towards this API would increase significantly due to requirements put forward by NFC payment providers.

      June 22nd, 2013 at 05:20

  4. Aras Balali Moghaddam

    Great discussion. I have also noticed that usually when I tell people about Firefox OS they quickly get hung about hardware and how it could possibly compete with other existing players in the mobile. Hopefully discussions like this will be helpfull in shining the light on what values Firefox OS is bringing to the table. I am very excited about the future of the open web. Thanks again, looking forward to the rest of the videos.

    June 20th, 2013 at 21:15

  5. Fawad Hassan

    Very nice dicussion. Thanks for creating this :)

    June 21st, 2013 at 07:43

  6. Gin

    I can see the rapid updates already… What are we on now fire fox 40.. Next up Fire Fox OS v220

    June 21st, 2013 at 09:05

    1. Caspy7

      The current released version is 1.0. The next major release will be 1.1 followed by 1.2.

      June 21st, 2013 at 10:37

  7. jean-michel

    well well all that but i have on keon and i can say there is nothing or nearly nothing in applications . the market is a mess with little naughty applications
    sorry the good thing is inside adb the OS is richer than android and the behaviour is more fluid

    June 21st, 2013 at 09:19

    1. Lisa Brewster

      Apps are reviewed for “naughtiness” before being listed in the Marketplace, but for hosted applications we’re aware that content can change after we’ve approved it. If you see an app with inappropriate content, please use the “Report abuse” button so that we can investigate.

      June 21st, 2013 at 11:16

      1. Daniel Buchner

        Lisa makes sure we review ALL the things [for naughtiness]

        June 25th, 2013 at 06:31

      2. John Dagget

        what , no porn on Firefox Os ?

        June 27th, 2013 at 16:13

        1. Caspy7

          I can’t speak on behalf of the Mozilla Marketplace folk, but I can tell you three things I know.
          1) Firefox OS has a browser (with an internet connection)
          2) Firefox OS allows multiple marketplaces to be present on the phone. These marketplaces may have different standards from Mozilla.
          3) Not all apps have to be installed from marketplaces.

          If I got anything wrong, someone feel free to correct me.

          June 28th, 2013 at 05:31

          1. Robert Nyman [Editor]

            Sounds good to me.

            July 1st, 2013 at 03:02

  8. michael

    Awesome ideea, 1 language – 1 purpose :)

    June 23rd, 2013 at 00:47

  9. Praneet

    Can you please add a documentation of the Device APIs? For example, I am trying to find out if FF OS would allow app developers to switch the ringer mode of a device programmatically like Android allows?

    June 26th, 2013 at 04:31

    1. Robert Nyman [Editor]

      Please look at all the articles we’ve had here on Mozilla Hacks about WebAPI and the MDN documentation on WebAPIs.

      And currently you can’t access the ringer mode from within your app.

      June 26th, 2013 at 05:50

      1. Praneet

        Thank you for the links. Could we vote on which device features developers would like to get access to in future versions of the OS? Or are you planning to keep those type of decisions internal for now?

        June 26th, 2013 at 06:41

        1. Robert Nyman [Editor]

          There’s no voting being planned.

          June 26th, 2013 at 09:27

          1. Daniel Veditz

            No voting, but the discussions aren’t “internal”. Come join our developer lists and pitch in to create the features you need!

            June 26th, 2013 at 13:31

          2. Praneet Loke

            @Daniel, where do I signup for the developer list you mentioned? I’d like to see how I can pitch in.

            July 1st, 2013 at 04:43

  10. Dr. Typo

    In the article body “Téléfonica” should be “Telefónica”. It’s not a french company!

    June 26th, 2013 at 04:55

    1. Robert Nyman [Editor]

      Fixed now.

      June 26th, 2013 at 05:27

  11. Mathew Porter

    Sorry to sound like a complete idiot, but is / how the FireFox OS available and whats the hardware available /support?

    June 26th, 2013 at 14:27

    1. Robert Nyman [Editor]

      Right now there are only Developer Preview phones available, but it will soon be launched officially. You can reuse existing mobile web sites or build apps for Firefox OS – best way to test it is with the Firefox OS Simulator (description).

      June 26th, 2013 at 14:45

    2. Caspy7

      Initial markets launching phones with FFOS this year will be largely in developing countries. I don’t *think* there will be any introduced in the UK this year (and I know there won’t in the US).
      I hope we’ll see some hobbyist installs available for preexisting Android devices though.

      June 26th, 2013 at 15:28

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