We’ve had high hopes for Mozilla’s HTML 5-powered Firefox OS for quite awhile, and when it finally made its big debut here at Mobile World Congress 2013, it didn’t disappoint. Mozilla designed the attractive operating open system to break down the barriers between apps and Web pages and between developers and users. Unlike other platforms that rely exclusively on walled garden app stores to distribute software, Firefox OS will allow software publishers to sell their wares directly to consumers while also providing a vibrant market for app discovery.
To Mozilla, local apps and remote Web pages deserve equal treatment. So Firefox OS’ most unique feature is a dynamic search function that scours websites and HTML 5 apps at the same time. If you want information on your favorite musician, the search engine will show a screen with background wallpaper of that artist and icons representing both Web pages and apps with ticket info, biographies and songs. So far, we’ve only seen the Firefox OS running on entry-level smartphones, but it should be coming to mid-range and high-end handsets soon.