Firefox OS logoThe HTML5 vs App “battle” has raged for a long time, with companies like Netbiscuits with obvious motivations pushing HTML5 along the way. The HTML5 camp got a boost from Mozilla’s launch of the Firefox OS, and the Keon phone. UK news source The Register is not too enthusiastic about the phone, but does give some good accounts on what the potential can be for the OS itself.

According to Mozilla management they are not trying to compete with Apple and high-end Android devices though, rather they are going after lower end phones for developing markets . In those markets, and even in mature markets, the average selling price of smartphones is going down, thus Mozilla is banking on a trend where there is a need for a cheap OS and simpler experiences that even slimmed down Android phones will not be able to provide, as Firefox uses much less memory capacity of the phone.

Firefox (Source Wedbush, Mozilla)
While the OS may succeed in carving out a niche, as they certainly have very strong backing from mobile operators, and even Apple manufacturer Foxconn. But is HTML5 perhaps an Achilles heel in the whole scenario? Mobile cross platform tool provider Appcelerator completely blasts HTML5 as a viable platform, siting a lack of monetization models, poor user experience, the fact that browser fragmentation is ever present, and that Android and iOS gets releases several times a year or once a year respectively, while it has taken 5 years to get an HTML5 standard ratified. Still, they point to that HTML5 is certainly beneficial for apps where information is constantly updating and that users sometimes don’t want to download apps. So Firefox OS may face an uphill battle, not because of substandard devices or performance of the OS, but weaknesses with HTLM5. However, we’ve certainly seen cool examples of HTML5 apps, that are awesome for displaying information, so good designers can certainly do good things with the platform. The beauty of the whole thing? CodeNgo will quite easily support distribution to HTML5 app stores when and if the market takes off!

For a more in-dept look on Mozilla and Firefox, we recommend an excellent report by securities firm Wedbush. The fox is loose – let’s see what the hens do (we don’t even know what that means, but sounds good as finish :)).

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