The People That Brought You Firefox Are Building An Alternative To Android and iPhone

Mozilla employeesMozilla crew circa 2007

Photo: Flickr/fmg2001

Mozilla, the organisation best known for its Firefox browser, wants to do for mobile phones what the browser is doing for PCs: make the operating system obsolete.At the Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Mozilla today said it has signed on some heavy hitters for its Boot to Gecko project, which uses industry-standard HTML5 to run applications.

The first mobile devices to use Boot to Gecko instead of other options, like Android, will be available in 2012.

In a blog post, Mozilla explained:

“Telef√≥nica revealed their intention to work with us to deliver the very first open Web devices in 2012. These devices, architected entirely on the Web and built based on an HTML5 stack with powerful Web APIs, will mean significant advances in speed and cost reduction for mobile devices in the future.”

Deutsche Telekom has also agreed to help develop Boot to Gecko.

There have been many attempts to knock Google from its perch as the leading developer of an open source mobile operating system. Intel has been trying for years, first with its failed partnership with Nokia to develop Meego and now with another project called Tizen, backed by the Linux Foundation and supported by Samsung.

Meanwhile HP has some limp-wristed plans for webOS, too.

But Mozilla’s news marks the first open source alternative to Android that will result in devices sold by a carrier.

Telef√≥nica isn’t just Spain’s mega-carrier, either. Its reportedly the third largest carrier in the world with a network that spans 25 countries in Europe and Latin America. Should Project Gecko devices prove popular with its users, that would be catapult the Android/iPhone alternative onto the world stage in a hurry.

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