Nope, No Android Here, This Galaxy S II Runs Mozilla’s HTML5-Powered OS

Nope, No Android Here, This Galaxy S II Runs Mozilla’s HTML5-Powered OS


HTML5 and Javascript are quickly becoming the web’s unstoppable programming duo, with the combination providing developers with an alternative route to cross-platform nirvana. We’re starting to gain a better understanding of what these technologies can do, but until today, I don’t think I’d entirely grasped where they were taking us. But I do now, thanks to Mozilla and its Boot2Gecko OS.

We’ve mentioned B2G before, but back then details were not easy to come by. For one, we were under the impression that the OS would be built on, or use parts of, Google Android. This is not the case; what B2G does make use of is Linux to handle the underlying hardware and “reduce the burden on ODMs/OEMs”, according to Mozilla.

In the video above, Jonathan Nightengale, Mozilla’s Senior Director of Firefox Engineering, shows off a Samsung Galaxy S II powered by the operating system. There’s no way at all to tell it’s running purely on HTML5 / Javascript until Nightengale brings up the source code, where a mountain of div tags can clearly be seen. It does everything you’d expect a phone to do — Mozilla’s built APIs to handle making phone calls and sending text messages, all through a “web page”, as Nightengale describes it.

When I see stuff like this, I can understand why Microsoft went the direction it did with Metro. That said, B2G still needs to woo phone manufacturers before it can make any sort of retail impact, but with it sharing at least some compatibility with current Android phones, that doesn’t feel like a massive barrier.

[Mobile Zone]

Video: IDG