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Firefox: If Google made Android again it would make different choices

Luke Johnson


Did Google make mistakes with Android?

Although Android is currently the dominant force of the mobile scene, Mozilla has suggested that if Google was to rebuild its iOS rival, the search giant would make a number of fundamental changes.

Suggesting that Android is too demanding on hardware, Mozilla’s VP of Firefox, Jonathan Nightingale has suggested that Google has learnt from its mistakes in building software for mobile systems.

If people were making Android again today they would have made different choices,” Nightingale said speaking with TrustedReviews.

Giving examples of areas the OS could be improved he added: “They wouldn’t have the dalvik layer in the middle because it takes up memory and it takes up compute cycles.”

The Android dalvik is the engine within Google’s mobile OS which runs code and applications written in Java.

This is not the only Android issue raised by the Firefox VP, with Nightingale also highlighting the platform’s fragmentation and app support as an ongoing concern.

“If you’re in one of these markets and you’re shopping through the Google Play Store for Android apps, many of them may not on your device at all and the ones that do may not have been tested on it, they may perform poorly,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, Nightingale has claimed that Mozilla’s own Firefox OS is answering a number of the problems raised in Android.

“The quality of experience is really different [compared with Android],” the Mozilla exec stated. “The web is a very lightweight technology.”

He added: “Building on top of the web gives us an agility that allows us to build something really smooth, so 60 frames-per-second animations, even on lower end hardware.

“The other real differentiator there is that because we a built of the web, the scope of content you can reach is far broader.

“In many cases, all something has to do to become a Firefox OS app is take their existing mobile website, package it up and throw and icon on the launcher screen.”

The first Firefox phones launched last year, with Mozilla having recently announced a new range of devices, including a $25 smartphone for emerging markets.

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March 14, 2014, 9:28 pm

I agree with Jonathan Nightingale, but I would argue that Google has already taken some significant steps to address Android's shortcomings - they created Chrome OS (which not coincidentally is a browser or cloud-based operating system just like Firefox OS).

Somewhat ironically, Google's current problem with Android is that it is too popular. I think Google's long-term plan is to phase out Android and replace it with Chrome OS across all computer devices.

P.S. I already own a chromebook and really like it. I'd also love to get my hands on a Firefox OS smartphone, but unfortunately my carrier (VZW in the U.S.) doesn't carry any Firefox OS devices. The future battles between Chrome OS and Firefox OS should be interesting...and be cause for real concern for both Microsoft and Apple.


March 14, 2014, 11:09 pm

That guy seems not to realise that Android has web browsers that can access web content. Or he's desperate to find a reason people might choose Firefox OS.

And he conveniently forgot to mention ChromeOS.

Bill Cat

March 15, 2014, 3:25 am

First thing I tried to do on chromebook was download firefox os and then you find out Google is being evil and closing off the system. Pity. It could have been so good. So it's up to Firefox-os to do it right.


March 15, 2014, 11:59 am

To be fair, I suspect that Mozilla won't allow you to download Chrome OS on its Firefox OS devices either.

I'd love to see Mozilla release a Firefox OS device in a laptop form factor so I could compare a "firefoxbook" or "mozillabook" with a chromebook.

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