Mozilla at MWC: Firefox OS to get an interface overhaul; $25 smartphone in the offing

By on February 24, 2014, 11:15 AM
mozilla, firefox, mwc, firefox os, mwc 2014

Mozilla announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday that its Firefox OS will get an interface overhaul in the coming months. According to a Cnet report, the interface changes will apply to things like notifications, search, app discovery, and task switching, resulting in a major departure from the current Android-esque way of doing things within the browser-based operating system.

Swiping from the edges would be a key feature in the redesigned UI, helping users to switch among open applications easily. The notification screen is at the bottom, and can be invoked by an upward swipe. A small strip of text is displayed at the top of a page, informing users about the application (or the web page) which is currently active. A little swipe down converts that text box into an input field where users can type search terms. A longer swipe from the top invokes a task switcher.

"With the new model, we're really simplifying and making what we think is the ultimate browsing experience," said Josh Carpenter, the user experience leader for Firefox OS. According him, unlike other mobile operating systems, Mozilla counts anything on a Firefox OS phone as browsing, as all applications are built with web technology.

As per the report, the company is also working on improving typing accuracy by predicting the next letter, and making its tap target invisibly larger while a user is typing.

In separate news, the company announced that it is teaming up with China-based fabless semiconductor company Spreadtrum to come up with a reference design for a $25 Firefox OS-powered smartphone. The deal aims to bring low-cost smartphones to those who cannot afford pricey iPhones and Galaxys.

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