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Mozilla’s smartphone operating system is taking a major step toward being competitive… with smartphones from 2008. Today Mozilla is introducing Firefox OS 1.1 with exciting new features such as support for push notifications and MMS messaging, which lets you send and receive pictures, videos, and other files via a text message.
Oh yeah, you can also now download images, audio, and video using the web browser.
While these have been standard features in other smartphone platforms for years, it’s good to see Mozilla at least playing catch up. Right now there’s not much users can do with a Firefox OS device that they couldn’t also do with an Android, iOS, Windows Phone, or BlackBerry device.
But Mozilla’s betting there’s room for another smartphone software platform, and it’s working to make its software attractive to phone makers and wireless carriers by promising an open environment that gives those companies more control over the user experience.
Firefox OS is also relatively open for users — it’s based on open source Boot to Gecko software, and since all the apps you run on a Firefox OS phone are basically web apps written in HTML5 and other web technologies, it’s relatively easy for developers to write cross-platform apps that will run on Firefox OS as well as devices running other operating systems.
Other updates in Firefox OS 1.1 include:
- Adaptive app search on the home screen
- Search in the music app by swiping down from the top to reveal a search bar
- Import contacts from Gmail and Hotmail
- Add a phone number or email address to your contact list with a long-tap
- Suggestions will appear when you start entering a name or number in the dialer app
- Auto-save draft email messages
- Download audio and video attachments in email messages
- Send image attachments with an email
- Set reminders for calendar events
- The keyboard now supports auto-correct
- Apps are said to load faster and scrolling speed should be faster
Mozilla says Firefox OS 1.1 should roll out to existing users soon, with folks using a ZTE Open developer phone getting the update first.
You can pick up an unlocked ZTE Open with support for AT&T for just $80, which is probably the most attractive thing about the phone (and Firefox OS) at the moment.