Mozilla Pioneers Open Web Devices Platform

Developer & Design

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At today's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Mozilla and Telefónica Digital announced in a press release that they have teamed up to create a new mobile platform that will facilitate the first HTML5-based devices running on the open Web. The new Open Web Devices platform (OWD), will help to establish HTML5 as the next major environment for smartphones, at low price points. On a related note, Microsoft has recently streamlined its Windows Phone 7 operating system, in order to bring smartphone prices down in emerging markets.

The team put together a new mobile architecture that relies entirely on the Web, enabling HTML5 applications with access to core phone APIs. Meaning, all phone functions - calling, messaging, web browsing, games, etc., can be built as HTML5 applications. Mozilla’s Boot to Gecko Project unlocked the current limitations of Web development for mobile, to pursue the goal of building a complete, standalone operating system for the open web.

Telefónica and Mozilla are developing their HTML5 operating system on a hardware platform that's using a Qualcomm chipset, like the new Windows Phone 7 devices Microsoft is developing. Mozilla and Telefónica seek to build a cost-effective device at a feature-phone price, but with smartphone features.

Key points of the Telefónica and Mozilla announcement:

Telefónica and Mozilla pioneer first Open Web Devices
- Enabling HTML5 devices running on the Open Web which can deliver smartphone capabilities at feature phone prices.
- Capabilities being submitted to W3C for standardisation and to be made openly available.
- Opens up new opportunities for application developers and drives forward HTML5 as a cross-platform standard.

According to Carlos Domingo, Director of Product Development & Innovation at Telefónica Digital, "Telefónica's objective is to drive HTML5 adoption across the industry. For the first time the capabilities of HTML5 and the open Web have been fully leveraged to create an entirely new mobile platform." Brendan Eich, CTO of Mozilla adds, "it has long been our mission to deliver advanced Web technologies that eliminate roadblocks for users and developers. We did it first with Firefox, and now we’re doing it again in creating the first Open Web Devices."

Telefónica's research and development began working on the OWD concept in early 2011, and after Mozilla announced their 'Boot to Gecko' project last July, both companies commenced their collaboration.