Firefox OS: Android Rival or just a new kid on the block?

Ever since the past few weeks, we’ve been all about discussing the most up and coming things in the world of tech from Xioamis to BlackBerries. Today, we tread to the software side of things, and take a look at the new Firefox OS, something which “might” just give Android a run for its money. With an Initial Release date of April 23 in 2013, the Firefox OS is hardly a new thing. However, the lack of devices running natively on the platform hasn’t allowed it to capture any limelight. Stay with us, as we go into the details of this potential Android-rival.

Firefox OS and Android

Like Android, Firefox OS also targets smartphones and tablets. Both posses a Monolithic Linux kernel; Android however uses a modified version. Unlike Android which is written in languages primarily used for non-web-based applications, Firefox OS is written in HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and C++, which are primarily used for web-based applications, with the obvious exception being C++, common to both the operating systems. The similarities don’t end just yet, Firefox OS is held under the MPL license, a public license, much like the Apache License 2.0 and GNU GPL v2 imposed on Android. Though the Firefox OS is targeted at providing a new platform for mobile devices, namely smartphones and tablets, it is also finding its way to Smart TVs and other such devices.

In comparison to the ‘recently-turned 6’ Android, the Firefox OS is a kid at just an year and a half old. It’s in fact much younger than the MIUI firmware of Android, by the Chinese giant Xiaomi, the one found on our ;beloved inexpensive beast,’ the Xiaomi Mi3.

App Distribution

Now, that we’re done telling quite a lot of similarities between Android and Firefox OS, let us move on to some of the peculiars of the latter. While some – like Chris Zeler of The Verge – criticise the app distribution system of the Firefox OS for the need to have to deal with multiple carriers and their app stores, others – like Garyz Kovacs of Mozilla – justify this system of app distribution as not being of any relevance as users of the Firefox OS don’t need to install apps to run them. This essentially makes the Firefox OS a more web-based or oriented platform than rival Android, perhaps explaining the platform’s development in web-dominant languages like HTML5 et al.

Market Presence

Like all new things that are in it for the long run, the Firefox OS is taking its own fair share of time to penetrate into the market. Despite being available since well over an year now, it has failed to feature stock on any important device from a big company. The structural similarities between the Firefox OS and Android however allow for the former to run on several devices that ship with Android by stock; a prominent example being the Sony Xperia SP.


Greater and greater mobile internet penetration throughout the world, and increasing 3G and 4G speeds are definitely to help the case of this web-oriented platform, but till the time the Firefox OS generates a robust app market, Android has nothing to fear, and the Firefox OS alas indeed remains the ‘new kid on the block.’

Nikhil Jain

I'm an Entrepreneur with a keen interest in Gadgets and Technology. Co-Founder of, I manage content and writers on the website, in addition to authoring editorials. Currently a student of Law at USLLS, IPU in Delhi, India; I hope to use my legal knowledge to hone my existing skills and become a successful business manager.

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2 Responses

  1. sbp_romania says:

    I don’t think that Firefox OS is a rival to Android, and maybe neither the folks from Mozilla think so.
    Firefox OS was designed with the idea in mind that people who don’t afford expensive phones might have a smartphone and use the benefits of the internet.

    • Nikhil Jain says:

      At the moment, it certainly is not, and that’s what we’ve pointed out. But we can not be making any assertions for the future. We can not rule out the possibility of the Firefox OS evolving over the years into a dominant smartphone platform and an Android Rival.

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