If you are in the market for a tablet you have basically two big choices at the moment, Android or iOS (iPad). If you are looking for a smartphone you have Windows Phone 7, iOS, Android, and Blackberry OS. The market has become fairly saturated, especially on the phone side of things. Despite this saturation Microsoft has bold plans to move forward with its own tablet OS, Windows 8.
Windows 8 is a different than most tablet operating systems in that it’s the same experience that you will essentially find on your desktop as well. It is this ‘thinking different’ that will allow it to have a market share.
So it’s no secret that Microsoft is entering the tablet market with Windows 8, but it’s not the only company that has set its sight on the tablet/smartphone sector. Long ago, most computers ran either Netscape Navigator or IE to get to the Internet. Somewhere along the line Mozilla moved in and made its “Firefox” browser the king of the hill.
Now it seems that Mozilla is aiming its sites at the mobile operating system market as well.
Mozilla’s Boot 2 Gecko is a web-based OS that is priming itself for an initial appearance in 2012 and a release sometime in 2013. B2G’s platform user interface looks a lot like iOS at first glance, although it’s really about tight integration with web-based technologies such as its own Firefox browser.
B2G is about web-apps and Mozilla believes that the web can displace proprietary, single-vendor stacks for application development. Their end vision is a fully functioning PC/mobile operating system that can peacefully co-exist with the competition. You can’t help but think of Chrome OS when you hear about this new platform, although Mozilla is trying hard to dispel such assumptions of similarity.
According to Mozilla the biggest difference is that they are aiming towards the mobile/tablet sector of the market and not the notebook. In its early-stage it is simply trying to showcase tat phone dialers and word processors alike can easily be built using Web APIs.
While they are trying to separate themselves from comparison with Chrome OS, they did mention they would be more than willing to collaborate where appropriate with things like source code and other related web technology.
With the similarities in design to iOS you really need to hope that Mozilla already has its team of lawyers on call, but otherwise this seems like an interesting concept. What will make new ventures like Windows 8 and B2G succeed if they can offer something new and different from what is already out there.
At the same time, WebOS from Palm (and later HP), tried a lot of the same concepts and failed horribly. Does Mozilla have the capability to succeed where others have failed? Considering its strong background in the online world with technologies like Firefox, I would say that right now it’s a maybe.
This type of OS probably isn’t something that Microsoft has to look out for, but if implemented correctly it could still be a great option for those looking for something a little different with a little tighter net integration.
Mozilla has shown us how to develop a secure and yet easy to use browser, could they make the same kind of innovative move on the operating system front? It is really too early to call and until the first real demonstration of the OS arrives this year all we can do is speculate at how the OS will look, work, and compare to the other established tablet/mobile options.
What do you think about the B2G? Does the new OS have a future ahead of it or is it likely doomed to go the way of WebOS? Share your thoughts below!