Firefox OS Successor: Mozilla and KaiOS announce partnership
Firefox OS, formerly known as Boot2Gecko, was Mozilla's attempt at establishing a mobile operating system. First designed as an open alternative to the rising Android and iOS operating systems, then with a focus on connected devices instead.
Mozilla announced the end of commercial development of Firefox OS in 2016 and to release the code as an open source project.
KaiOS Technologies picked up the source and used it as a central component for the company's KaiOS operating system. The company had some success with the operating system as it is used on "more than 120 million devices" in "over 100 countries" according to KaiOS Technologies. KaiOS focuses on feature-phones, a market that Mozilla did not really entered when it worked on Firefox OS.
KaiOS is the leading mobile operating system for smart feature phones with more than 120 million devices shipped in over 100 countries. KaiOS-enabled devices require limited memory, while still offering a rich user experience. This includes the KaiStore with over 400 apps such as Google Assistant, WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, and Google Maps.
KaiOS is based on HTML5 and other open web technologies and supports 3G/4G LTE, Wi-Fi, GPS, and NFC.
Mozilla and KaiOS Technologies announced a partnership this week that will benefit both companies. KaiOS is based on a relatively old version of Mozilla's Gecko engine; version 48, released in 2016 is still the base of the operating system. While the technology works fine for the most part, important features and developments such as TLS 1.3, WebAssembly, or Progressive Web Apps, are not supported by the current version.
The partnership will change that as Mozilla and KaiOS plan to introduce these new features in the mobile operating system. All changes will be released as open source according to the press release on the KaiOS website.
A list of improvements has been published on the site:
- Optimized OS performance for apps, websites, and services
- Enhanced device APIs and feature compatibility
- Upgraded internet security and connection speeds via TLS 1.3
- Additional hardware-optimized technologies
- WebAssembly for more optimized web apps
- WebGL 2.0 for advanced graphics and 3D games
- WebP, AV1 for new image and video codecs
- Additional modern web language support
- Advanced CSS for better web experience
- Progressive web app support for improved browsing experience and ease of advanced apps development
- Improved device stability and ease of obtaining certification for mobile carriers and OEMs
Apart from support for new web technologies, users of KaiOS devices will also benefit from improved performance, reliability, and security.
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