On Tuesday, the first smartphones based on Mozilla’s Firefox OS went on sale in Spain. Selling for just $90, the devices might become popular with customers who currently use feature phones. For the time being, they’ll be marketed primarily in emerging markets.
Firefox OS is based on Web technologies, including HTML5. Most experts agree that the key to the platform’s success will be the number of apps optimized for the platform. Mobile development firms say adapting native mobile apps for Firefox OS can be challenging.
“Things that are trivial in native application development such as utilizing the GPS or running parallel processes are much harder to be done efficiently in HTML5,” said the developers of the EverNav app. “Just to give you an example, one of the hardest tasks we had was to play sounds at exactly the right time to match the driving directions. Something that is extremely easy when developing native applications became a challenge in HTML5.”