Today, Mozilla (the maker of the Firefox Web browser) announced the release of its new Firefox OS for mobile phones. Poland and Spain will see Firefox phones first, with a worldwide rollout to come later.
To differentiate from Android and iOS, Mozilla is positioning its platform as an "open Web device."
From Mozilla's perspective, the Web is the operating system. If you can write code to design and build a website, you can write code to design and build an app for Firefox OS. Mozilla chief technology officer Brendan Eich says the organization estimates that here are nearly eight million Web developers in the world. The number of developers for all proprietary operating systems, he says, are “an order of magnitude or two less, in the hundreds of thousands. “There was no reason that the Web couldn’t be a first class platform for mobile apps,” Eich said today at a press conference in San Francisco announcing the two new Firefox OS smartphones.
Mozilla has been very open about its OS, since it first announced the project two years ago. It has outlined the vision of the product, and has spoken frequently about how it has used HTML5 to build "open application programming interfaces (APIs)."
While nobody is more certain than Mozilla that the project will be a success, the market is ripe for disruption. Apparently the phones will be very cheap by today's standards, and there is already many developers who are exciting about making apps for the platform.