Firefox OS: Looking Ahead

jsullivan

Last year was the 15th in Mozilla’s history. It’s also the year we launched Firefox OS. As we kick off a new year, it’s a good time to reflect on the status of this major initiative, and share an overview of where Firefox OS is headed in 2014.

Why Firefox OS?

Mozilla, and the mobile ecosystem as a whole, believes that there should be a truly open alternative to the two dominant smartphone OS platforms. An alternative that delivers amazing experiences to users and provides developers with the opportunity to build the apps of their dreams, while putting power in the hands of each individual.

By producing an OS powered by Web technologies and the Web’s principles of openness and competition at every layer of the stack, we’re applying the full power and flexibility of the Web to the mobile ecosystem for the first time. Unlike other platforms, content purchased by the user is owned by the user, not tied to a particular device. Developers are encouraged to distribute apps however they want, and even to build new app stores that compete with our Firefox Marketplace.

With Firefox OS code being developed in the open, for all to see and improve, we can also build trust in how the OS handles personal data and security.

2013: Launch

The past year saw the culmination of a massive effort to transform Firefox OS from vision to reality. Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Mozilla community — including passionate individuals and organizations that now include major chipset vendors, OEMs and mobile network operators — three Firefox OS smartphone models shipped in 2013 and are now available in fourteen markets. Major industry players including Deutsche Telekom, LG Electronics, Qualcomm, TCL/ALCATEL ONETOUCH, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telenor and ZTE have all played an important role. We also collaborated with global mobile leaders to form a new Compliance Review Board to standardize and promote the Open Web ecosystem.

Sales and customer satisfaction are exceeding our expectations for this early-stage offering. Developers are happy with the evolution of HTML5 that Firefox OS has spurred. Firefox OS is already having a big impact on the power of the Web platform. New APIs pioneered by Mozilla are being standardized so that developers can write Web-based apps and deploy them to any OS.

In 2013, Firefox OS showed what is possible when the power of the Web is applied to a mobile OS.

2014: New Markets and New Form Factors

Mozilla’s strategy has been to build Firefox OS primarily for emerging markets, where there are still billions of people who have yet to experience their first smartphone. This approach is driven by our mission to bring the Web to more people, as well as the advantage Firefox OS has in delivering great performance on inexpensive hardware. In 2014, Mozilla will continue to focus on emerging markets and the first-time smartphone user.

In addition, one of the benefits of Firefox OS being an open source project is that any individual or organization can extend and adapt the platform for different types of hardware. In 2014, we expect to see Firefox OS deployed in new ways.

Firefox OS will be used on a broader range of smartphones that are tailored for different types of consumers. For example, this week, ZTE will announce their second Firefox OS phone, which is a higher-end device targeted to a different set of consumers.

The flexibility of Firefox OS is also generating interest in form factors beyond the smartphone. More devices than ever are becoming Internet-enabled: it’s estimated that there will be 30 billion wirelessly-connected devices in 2020, three times as many as today. As the Internet comes to your wrist, your car and your TV, Mozilla would like to see the Web principles of openness and a level playing field in these areas, too. So it’s exciting to see Panasonic announce this week that they plan to deploy Firefox OS on TVs.

The power of the Web will expand the boundaries of smartphone capabilities, and we will continue to introduce new features such as adaptive app search that re-define that experience for users.

Much More to Come

We’re bringing Firefox OS to the world so that smartphones and other devices can begin to advance and adapt at the pace of the Web. The number of mobile app developers building for Firefox OS is expected to triple over the next year, and there are millions more HTML5 developers who can participate without learning a new programming language. Pairing an ease of developer participation with expanded choices in devices and form factors will allow Firefox OS to break new ground, and illustrate why the Web is the Platform.  I’m confident that 2014 will be yet another exciting year for Firefox OS and Mozilla, and can’t wait to see it unfold.

Firefox OS Look Ahead

Mozilla in 2013

Mozilla

What an amazing year for the Web. In 2013, we celebrated 15 years of Mozilla and 15 Years of a Better Web, which we’ve been instrumental in innovating and shaping to keep open and accessible to all. We wanted to share with you some of our favorite Mozilla 2013 highlights.

In 2013 we launched Firefox OS , the first open Web devices based entirely in Web technologies. We launched 3 devices in 14 markets with 4 operator partners. We are proud to have Firefox OS devices with hardware partners ZTE, Alcatel and LG and operator partners Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Telenor and Telecom Italia Mobile.

We always work to make Firefox faster, safer and more fun to customize while introducing technologies that move the Web forward as a platform. We are proud to say that Firefox is up to 88 percent faster on the Octane JavaScript Benchmark. We unlocked the Web as a platform for high end game development by developing a highly-optimized version of JavaScript, called asm.js that makes Web apps and games up to 6 times faster, and teamed up with Epic Games to bring Unreal Engine 3 to the Web. Most recently, Trendy launched Monster Madness, the first 3D commercial game powered by asm.js. We are especially excited about the addition of WebRTC in Firefox and Firefox for Android, which enables video calls and file sharing between browsers.  And, there are endless ways to customize Firefox to meet your needs. You can check out the top add-ons for 2013 here.

Firefox for Android is screaming fast. User reviews have skyrocketed to a consistent average of 4.5 stars and it has been downloaded more than 50 million times. In 2013, we announced that Firefox for Android is pre-installed on the Kobo Arc Tablet and Gigabyte GSmart smartphones.

We don’t just build products that make a better Web. Mozilla is an organization that is fundamentally about people, and we want everyone globally to make the Firefox experience their own. Our user support team has been hard at work over the past year listening and talking to users about their experiences with all of our products. More than 150 million users received the help they needed with Firefox from our support team.

Mozilla is dedicated to offering users privacy and transparency and we are honored to be an organization that users trust. This year, Mozilla was named the Most Trusted Internet Company for Privacy by the Ponemon institute. We launched Lightbeam in October as a tool for users to visualize tracking on the Web and its been downloaded nearly 1 million times since launch. In response to the issue of NSA spying, we launched, StopWatching.Us — that called on citizens from around the world to demand a full accounting of the extent to which our online data, communications and interactions are being monitored. More than 588,351 people signed the petition on StopWatching.Us.

We held the third Mozilla summit which brought 2,800 Mozillians, from 90 countries and 114 languages together in three locations to work together for three days of connection, reflection, and action. Our Mozilla Reps program is strong with more than 370 official Mozilla Reps spreading Mozilla and Firefox in their communities. We formalized our Firefox Student Ambassadors program and have more than 8,000 Student Ambassadors. And our core community of Mozillians spans more than 109 countries across the globe.

Webmaker.org is a vibrant hub of creative activity that attracts thousands of people every day to teach and learn Web skills. Our free, open source tools Thimble, Popcorn Maker and X-Ray Goggles have evolved to meet the needs of a growing community that cares deeply about teaching the Web. We have a global community helping us improve our tools and build a curriculum. And we just wrapped up a hugely successful global Maker Party, with more than 1,600 Maker Parties in 55 countries and 330 cities across the globe.

This is only a small sample of some of the accomplishments we are most proud of. We look forward to making 2014 an even better year for the Web.

mozilla_eoy_2013

There is also a more accessible version of the infographic available.

First 3D Commercial Web Game Powered By asm.js Unveiled

Mozilla

Play Monster Madness to see how it leverages asm.js, a supercharged subset of JavaScript and Web Port of Unreal Engine 3 for a slick, plugin-free multiplayer experience

Earlier this year, Mozilla and Epic Games showcased Unreal Engine 3 running in Firefox and other Web browsers using asm.js, Emscripten, and WebGL, showing the power of the Web as a  platform for gaming.  This demo caught the attention of  NomNom Games, a subsidiary of Trendy Entertainment, who was excited about the possibility of bringing their existing Unreal Engine 3-powered titles to the Web, without the need for plugins.

Within a week, with only minimal technical support from Epic and Mozilla, NomNom was able to get the code for Monster Madness up and running in Firefox, complete with multiplayer support.  Their experience led them to choose Mozilla-pioneered Emscripten and asm.js as a core part of their Web strategy.  Today, we’re excited to see their first product, Monster Madness, going into public Alpha.  You can try Monster Madness in Firefox, Chrome or Opera here, complete with multiplayer support. The HTML5 port of Monster Madness uses only standard Web technologies, and as such will run in any browser supporting the proper standards, leaving browsers vendors to compete on performance.  In our tests Firefox runs the game best, but try and compare for yourself!

We applaud when a developer shares their insights to help other developers find solutions to similar problems more quickly.  Jeremy Stieglitz, Trendy’s CTO, has written a blog post and provided a short video about their project.  Their experiences should help other developers gain insight into the advantages of the Emscripten+asm.js approach to bringing games to the Web.

Thanks to the Mozilla pioneered asm.js, it is now feasible to run code compiled from languages such as C and C++ on the Web, in a way that is compatible with all modern browsers.  Performance is good in all browsers, and is fast approaching that of native applications in browsers that optimize asm.js-style code like Firefox and Chrome. Mozilla has been focused on the games industry while developing Emscripten and asm.js and we are very excited to see the first commercial game make use of its speed and multi-browser compatibility.  We believe adoption will continue to grow and expand into other types of content aside from games. asm.js provides developers with a large range of options in terms of which languages they can use, while preserving performance as well as the portability and ease of deployment of the Web.

We’re very excited to see NomNom and Unreal Engine use these technologies to bring games to the Web, and we look forward to playing some multiplayer action! Try it out here.

- Martin Best, Game Platform Strategist

Open Web Device Compliance Review Board Launches with Backing from Global Mobile Leaders

Mozilla

Earlier this year, Mozilla was joined by partners from across the mobile ecosystem to introduce Firefox OS, the first devices powered completely by open Web technologies. Firefox OS smartphones are now on sale in 14 countries in Europe and Latin America. We are now stepping forward again with global mobile leaders to begin an initiative to drive the open Web forward for more users and developers.

Today marks the launch of the Open Web Device Compliance Review Board (CRB), an independent organization designed to promote the success of the open Web ecosystem by ensuring API compliance and creating a superior experience for all stakeholders. The CRB is backed by 11 partners, including operators, device manufacturers and chipset makers, covering a diverse range of geographies and with a shared interest in the success of an open mobile system. It will also be the foundation for Mozilla’s Firefox OS branding requirements.

For more on the CRB and how it will support device manufacturers and technology partners, read the press release.

New Home Screen in Firefox for Android: Access Your Information in a Single Tap

Mozilla

We’re always working to give you more choice, customization and control over how you browse the Web. The new Firefox for Android Home screen helps you navigate the Web quickly and gives you easy access to all your browsing history in a single tap.

The new Home screen appears when you start up Firefox for Android, open a new tab or tap on the URL bar. You’ll instantly see your Top Sites, History, Bookmarks, and Reading List in a swipeable menu, to give you a streamlined and speedier browsing experience on-the-go, when you need it most. Firefox helps you get to any page you’ve visited, saved, or search for, so you can swiftly handle any browsing, shopping, email, work, social media or anything you need on your mobile phone or tablet.

Firefox for Android adds Bing and Yahoo! to give you more choice and control over how you search the Web on your mobile phone or tablet. You can easily change your default search options in the ‘Customize’ section of your browser settings.

Today, Firefox for Android is available on smartphones that run the Intel x86 processor chips, bringing an intuitive, powerful and personalized experience to millions of devices worldwide.

More information:

Unleash The Game Creator in You By Entering Our Holiday Gaming Competition

Mozilla

Prizes totaling $45,000 are up for grabs

 

Can you create an even more enticing interactive game demo than our Jetpack Santa? We bet you can and to help you create it, we are partnering with Goo Technologies for Mozilla and Goo’s Game Creator Challenge.

The Web is open to everyone, so we want to see what happens when the game players become game creators and when game developers can create for the Web across multiple browsers and platforms to target billions of people.

Mozilla has helped pioneer technology that has set the Web up as a serious platform for distributing and developing games. WebGL, Emscripten, asm.js and Web Audio API are just a few of these technologies that now ensure that the Web offers the best and most complete platform for gaming possible.

To showcase these technologies, we’re looking for budding game creators to show us their creative genius. The power of the Web as a gaming platform and robust tools like Goo Create mean that this contest is open to a wide range of people – from those who’ve never created a game before, to people who know how to code a little, to more experienced game creators and JavaScript coders.

To create your games, you will be using the Goo platform consisting of Goo Engine – a 3D JavaScript gaming engine entirely built on WebGL/HTML5 – and Goo Create – a visual editing tool running on top of the engine. For inspiration, check out this video tutorial on how to create an interactive scene in Goo Create.

Pick one of three contest categories that fuels your creativity the best!

  • Best Amateur Interactive Game Scene
  • Best Desktop Game
  • Best Mobile Game

More info on the categories and prizes below.

Judges from Rovio (the company behind Angry Birds), Mozilla (Brendan Eich, CTO and inventor of JavaScript and Vlad Vukicevic, Engineering Director and inventor of WebGL) and Goo Technologies (Rikard Herlitz, CTO) will pick the winners by January 17th.

So what’s stopping you? Take advantage of the holiday downtime to have some FUN! Get started HERE.

Categories and Prizes

  1. Best Amateur Interactive Game Scene – for creative tech enthusiasts and artists

Create a visually stunning interactive game scene in Goo Create using only the built in object primitives*. Check out this example scene of Jetpack Santa made entirely in Goo Create and the built in primitives. This scene is also available to duplicate and build on inside Goo Create. This category is for those with little to no previous experience of game creation.

What the judges are looking for: Creativity when it comes to lighting, audio, landscape creation and character originality.

Prizes for the top 5 contributions:

  • $1,000 in cash
  • 5 year access to Goo Create Pro ($2900 value)

*Primitives are simple 3D shapes (cubes, spheres, and so forth) that can be manipulated and combined together to create characters or other objects in a scene.

2. Best Desktop Game – for creative coders

Create an immersive game level for the desktop browser using Goo Create in combination with Goo Engine JavaScript API.

What the judges are looking for: Originality in visual design, audio and interaction as well as demonstrating technical mastery in open Web technologies and how well the game keeps the player engaged.

Prize:

  • A trip for two people to the GDC Conference in San Francisco, scheduled for March 17 – 21, 2014 or to GamesCom in Cologne, August 13-17 (maximum value $10,000) or $5,000 cash, at the winner’s option.
  • 5 year access to Goo Create Pro ($2900 value)
  • Guest post on the Mozilla Apps blog

3. Best Mobile Game – for Creative Coders

Create an immersive game level for the mobile Web using Goo Create in combination with Goo Engine JavaScript API – extra credit will be awarded for cross-platform games that also work on desktop.

What the judges are looking for: Originality in visual design, audio and interaction as well as demonstrating technical mastery in open Web technologies and how well the game keeps the player engaged. Firefox for Android 26 will be used to judge the entries, running on hardware similar to a Nexus 4.  Bonus points will be awarded if the game also runs on Firefox OS.

Prize:

  • A trip for two people to the GDC Conference in San Francisco, scheduled for March 17 – 21, 2014 or to GamesCom in Cologne, August 13-17 (maximum value $10,000), or $5,000 cash, at the winner’s option.
  • 5 year access to Goo Create Pro ($2900 value)
  • Guest post on the Mozilla Apps blog

Here’s how to get started

Sign up for the competition and we’ll send you instructions on how to take it from there. So spark your creative genes now and SIGN UP!

Deadline for entry

Deadline for submitting entries is Tuesday, January 14 at midnight PT. Submit your entry by sending the url of your finished scene or game to mozgoocreate@mozilla.com.

For more information:

Firefox OS Launches in More Countries Across Europe

Mozilla

Mozilla kicked off a second round of Firefox OS launches starting in October with Deutsche Telekom’s Congstar in Germany. Followed by a wave of launches in Latin America in October, Firefox OS phones have also launched in more European markets recently.

In the last few weeks, Deutsche Telekom started offering Firefox OS phones through Telekom in Hungary and COSMOTE in Greece. Earlier this year, Deutsche Telekom launched Firefox OS phones through T-Mobile in Poland.

Telenor is also a very active supporter of Firefox OS. Telenor today announced that their first Firefox OS phones went on sale in Hungary last week and sales begin in Serbia and Montenegro now. The Norway-based operator also announced plans to bring Firefox OS phones to Asia in 2014.

Firefox OS is now available in 13 countries with more coming soon.

FirefoxOS_HU_RS_GR

Firefox OS in Hungarian (Adaptive App Search), Serbian (Call) and Greek (Firefox Marketplace)

Mozilla is working with operator, hardware and developer partners around the world to offer more choice and control in the mobile industry with Firefox OS. Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies to deliver the performance and personalization you want in a smartphone with a beautiful, intuitive and easy-to-use experience that is unmatched by any other phone.

For more information:

Roll Up Your Sleeves, It’s Time to Save the Web

Mark Surman
Photo of Mark Surman as a punk rock kid.

Photo of Mark Surman as a punk rock kid.

I was a punk rock kid. It wasn’t just the music I loved, but the “make it yourself” part of that culture. It was open to anyone who could pick up a guitar to bust out a tune or use a photocopier to make a fanzine. It was real. It was raw and accessible. Everyone could have a voice. A few years later, I discovered those same qualities in this new cool frontier called the Internet. Pick up a keyboard and you can connect with the world and build stuff. Five years ago, I joined Mozilla because we share that punk rock DNA: The belief that everyone can have a voice and that the Internet should always be a source of empowerment for people.

The people at Mozilla are makers and doers. They’re a “learn it together as you need to” community. This combination of making and learning and teaching is key to everything we do, from making Firefox to building new programs like Webmaker.
Mozilla works at the intersection of passion and pragmatism. We’re a global community gathered around the idea that the Web shouldn’t be closed off from everyone. We believe the Web must be an open, shared resource available to all. We roll up our sleeves and get down to the business of making. If the web needs a new piece of technology, we build it. If the world needs to understand the web, we teach it.

Right now the web is a huge source of empowerment; it’s the spark for untold amounts of creativity and innovation. But I worry that as billions more people come online in the next decade, they won’t have the same Web we had. These DIY ideals are losing ground as the mobile Internet becomes less open, less accessible to every-day people. Fewer and fewer individuals getting online today have the know-how or the tools to make the Internet theirs, to create their song, share their cause, or spread their idea in the broader digital world. Mobile is a gated world where you have to ask permission to build a new cool thing and put it in an app store. There has never been a more important time than now to roll up our sleeves and build it, teach it; loosen the gatekeeper’s grip.

We need to get ahead of this, to fix this. We can fix this. We need to make sure the Web wins on mobile by building Firefox OS and new WebAPIs, we need the Web— the open, interoperable, mashable Web—to be the platform for a world going mobile. We need to find ways to teach 100′s of millions more people how the Web works so they can make it their own. This is what the Mozilla community is all about — championing a web where people know more and do more, a web that they can make their own and use to make their lives better.

That’s where you come in. With your support we can keep tools accessible and teach the world how to be creators as well as consumers of the Web. We can create a world where more kids not only learn how to read, write and do math, but also how the Web works. And when they know more about the Web, they can do more and make their lives better. That is the real promise: A world where people really have the opportunity to invent a better, more creative future for themselves and all of us.

How can you help?

Thanks for supporting Mozilla and our mission to build the web the world needs.

The BBC and Mozilla formalize partnership for web skills in the UK

Mozilla
Paula Le Dieu at the MOU signing with the BBC.

Paula Le Dieu at the MOU signing with the BBC.

Today we’re excited to announce the formalization of our partnership with the BBC to support free and open internet technologies.

While the BBC and Mozilla have been working together on digital skills for some time—the BBC’s Connected Studios regularly run their workshops at Mozilla’s London community space, and we are working together on a number of digital learning initiatives that involve both Open Badges and Webmaker projects—this is the first time Mozilla and the BBC have formalized the relationship with a memorandum of understanding.

Mozilla will join three other organizations, the Open Data Institute, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and the Europeana Foundation to support free and open internet technologies. Mozilla and the BBC will continue to work together on open technical standards, web literacy, education projects, and a number of other shared initiatives. The agreements precede a year of programming and events that support Web and Digital Creativity across the UK that the BBC will kick off in 2015.

You can read more about the Memorandum of Understanding over at the BBC website.

State of Mozilla and 2012 Financial Statements

Mozilla

Today, we published our annual State of Mozilla report. You can find full details on the report website, including excerpts from speeches at our recent Mozilla Summit.  Included below is a portion of Mitchell Baker’s speech about who Mozilla is:

“We are a global community with a common purpose: to build the Internet the world needs.

We do this by building products, empowering communities, teaching and learning, and shaping environments. We do our best when these things are woven together into a single strand. No one else has both the vision and the opportunity to make it real.

We can make the Internet knowable, interoperable, ours. We can be champions of the Web where people know more, do more, and do better. This is us. This is Mozilla.”