UbuntuPhone OS ships with Firefox and Chromium

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 1, 2013
Updated • Jun 19, 2019
Mobile Computing

Two new mobile phone operating systems will  make their debut in 2013. Firefox OS by Mozilla will debut in markets such as Brazil, Spain, Poland or Venezuela starting this Summer, while first devices powered by UbuntuPhone are expected to be available at the end of 2013.

Both companies target entry-level markets and customers in the beginning, and it makes sense that they do. That does not necessarily mean that the phones won't come to the US or Europe. A recent press release by Canonical for instance highlights that they expect first UbuntuPhone devices to be made available in Western Europe.

The same press release confirmed that UbuntuPhone will ship with the Firefox and Chromium web browser. Chromium is an open source web browser that Google Chrome uses as its core.

Ubuntu will include both the Chromium and Firefox browsers, ensuring a first-class and competitive web browser experience as well as first class web and HTML5 applications.

Update: According to this blog post, Ubuntu Phone will ship with its own web browser installment called Oxide.

Update 2: Ubuntu Phone is now known as Ubuntu Touch. It is a mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system. End

That's interesting for a number of reasons. When you look at Android or iOS, you will notice that these platforms limit which web browsers can be made available on them.

This may lead to issues. Synchronization for instance may not work between desktop PCs and the phone if a web browser is used on the desktop that is not available on the phone.

. While Chrome is available for iOS devices, Firefox is not for instance. The availability of both Firefox and Chromium ensures that the majority of users can synchronize their data quite easily.

ubuntu phone os screenshot

Support for the two browsers on the other hand won't likely be a deciding factor when it comes to selecting the next phone that you are stuck with for the coming years. It is certain that both Firefox OS and UbuntuPhone won't be able to compete against high-end phones right now.

What may happen though is that both phones manage to snag away market share in the entry-level markets and as secondary phones. (via Sören)

UbuntuPhone OS ships with Firefox and Chromium
Article Name
UbuntuPhone OS ships with Firefox and Chromium
The first release version of Ubuntu Phone -- renamed to Ubuntu Touch in the meantime -- included Firefox and Chromium browsers.
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  1. Daniel Beck said on June 10, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Things changed since last year: Ubuntu Touch will not ship Chromium. Instead, they will deliver their own browser which is named “oxide”.

    More information about it can be found here: http://www.chriscoulson.me.uk/blog/?p=196

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on June 10, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Thanks Daniel, I have updated the article to reflect that.

  2. mma173 said on March 1, 2013 at 5:58 am


    Q: Is the Firefox OS as customizable as the Firefox the browser?
    Does it have Addons that can add/alter about everything?
    Does it have things similar to the UserChrome and such?

    The degree of customization is what made Firefox my browser of choice, and would definitely consider the OS if similar.


    1. Sören Hentzschel said on March 1, 2013 at 9:15 am

      There are no add-ons, it’s a smartphone OS, you have apps. ;-) Firefox on Firefox OS has no add-ons in v1.0. But you can customize your background image, yay… ;-)
      Gaia (the UI) is written in HTML5 and CSS, so theoretically you can easily customize the look of Firefox OS.

      It’s the very first version of Firefox OS. There are still some things missing.

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on March 1, 2013 at 6:12 am

      That is a good question. I can’t really say yet how customizable it will be once it is released. We will have to wait for tests to come out.

  3. ilev said on March 1, 2013 at 5:27 am

    The new Firefox OS has after the announcement more manufactures support than Windows phone has after almost 3 years. Even Nokia joined and will port its HERE applications package to Firefox OS. The last to join is Sony.

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