Firefox OS spreads from phones to TVs

Mozilla Firefox OS logoSmart TVs, as a category, are slowly evolving from "basic interfaces you use to launch Netflix" to full-fledged computing platforms in their own right. While some set-top boxes like the FireTV or the Nexus Player let you add a mini-computer to existing TVs, others are building those capabilities directly into the TVs themselves. Sharp and Philips are releasing several sets with Android TV built in. LG just announced some TVs running WebOS 2.0. And Panasonic has just announced the first TVs to ship with Mozilla's Firefox OS.

In case you're unfamiliar, Firefox OS is a mobile platform on which every "app" is actually an HTML5 app. The TV version of the OS, brief glimpses of which are shown in this introductory video, takes the same approach, expanding and shifting the phone UI around to fit the larger screen. The interface lets you pin specific applications or services (like the aforementioned Netflix), and it gives you access to input settings and other basic TV stuff. Basic Web browsing is here, of course, and the video shows a user "casting" content from a Firefox OS phone to the TV. Firefox OS TVs will also be able to display notifications from applications and, eventually, other smart devices in your home.

Firefox OS spreads from phones to TVs

This is the first time Firefox OS has moved beyond phones, and there still aren't many of those available to buyers (particularly in the US) as is. They've mostly been budget handsets targeting markets like India and China, where most of the smartphone growth is happening these days. Mozilla's video envisions a future in which Firefox OS expands to even more devices, including smart watches and appliances like laundry machines. The biggest barriers to entry are, of course, finding partners and then getting those partners' devices into the hands of real people—even though Firefox OS hasn't taken the smartphone world by storm, it may have more success in the nascent, anomalous world of smart devices.

Panasonic's Firefox OS Life+ TVs are scheduled to launch at some undisclosed date later this year.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Firefox OS, Mozilla, OSes, TVs

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