Want to play with Mozillas pure-web, open source Firefox OS? You could always flash it to a Galaxy Nexus or a Raspberry Pi, but what if you dont have an experimental handset or dev board handy? Just launch Firefox and go all Xzibit on it: run Mozillas browser-powered operating system inside your browser. You can even try out its browser while youre at it.
Mozillas development crew has released a new emulator that you can install like any other Firefox extension. Its packaged as a .XPI, and there are dedicated versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems available for download. The Windows version, unfortunately, is a tad on the unstable side right now (crashy, as Mozilla puts it).
Just about everything works as youd expect it to. You can visit the Firefox Marketplace and install apps, fire up the built-in maps app (powered by Nokia) and get travel directions, traffic details, and public transit routes, and fiddle about with the ineffectual FxOS settings on your imaginary phone...
You wont get a full sense of how Firefox OS feels on a phone by playing with R2D2B2G, but its a hassle-free way to get a quick look at Mozillas take on a modern mobile operating system. Head over to Blue Sky On Mars and grab the .XPI if youre ready to try it out yourself.
Mozilla is about to enter the smartphone market in a big way. The non-profit will be offering Firefox OS on handsets in smaller markets, like South America. In fact, the team behind Firefox OS went to Brazil in August to show off the new mobile OS.
For everybody who wasnt at the event, Mozilla has now uploaded the entirety of the talk in parts. Interested developers will get to see how Firefox OS was made, and get a sneak peak at all the Web APIs that Mozilla is cramming into the HTML5-based OS.