Like Working Phones? Dislike Google or Corporations? Check this out…

Found this on earlier this week:

Mozilla and KaiOS Technologies announced a partnership this week that will benefit both companies. KaiOS is based on a relatively old version of Mozilla’s Gecko engine; version 48, released in 2016 is still the base of the operating system. While the technology works fine for the most part, important features and developments such as TLS 1.3, WebAssembly, or Progressive Web Apps, are not supported by the current version.

The partnership will change that as Mozilla and KaiOS plan to introduce these new features in the mobile operating system. All changes will be released as open source according to the press release on the KaiOS website.”

This may (finally) mean that the Big G has some competition in the mobile market; and coming from a combination of a clearly hungry techco (in KaiOS Technologies) and ultimately the longest lasting advocate for open standards in web tech (i.e. Mozilla) surely this can’t be a bad thing?

CNET writes, of the same event:

Newer software often requires more powerful hardware, but KaiOS said the Gecko modernization won’t be a problem. ‘The latest iterations of Gecko improve memory efficiency, and we’re contributing our expertise in this area to ensure that the updates run smoothly on all KaiOS-enabled devices,’ the company said.”

Whether “…updates…” mentioned means full-fat over-the-air new versions of an operating system running on hardware potentially two-years’ old remains to be seen. Fingers. Crossed.

This isn’t the first time that Moz have turned their hand to software outside their app suite, as Ben Francis writes:

In this blog post I take a look at the legacy of the B2G project, some of the devices you can buy today running B2G code, and other related efforts which still continue inside and outside Mozilla.

Probably the most notable fork of the B2G source code is KaiOS from KaiOS Technologies. It was started in 2016 with a team of 30 people and has since grown to have offices in France, Germany, Taiwan, India, Brazil, Hong Kong and mainland China in addition to its headquarters in the US.”

KaiOS have readily taken investment from Google (see the CNET article above) thus handsets like the Nokia 8110 4G can now use YouTube and the Google Assistant, including most functionality:

Google’s trio of apps are also quite impressive, starting with YouTube. It’s pretty much a web app that gives you access to your home menu, subscriptions, playlists, and account information. There are several omissions though…”

While these developments likely won’t provide a drop-in alternative to the Chrome-on-Android / ChromeOS / Safari on iPhone default experiences *soon*, hopefully there will be a viable product capable of noticeable penetration into the market, by players that I think deserve some success.

Please note: as a user of the Firefox Preview build (still stubbornly on Lollipop – ha!) I find it encouraging but bitter-sweet that the Chromium Engine has essentially taken over the usage stats; particularly that even Microsoft’s latest version of their Edge browser (while not a compulsory install even on v1909 of Win10) now exclusively runs on Chromium. However: thankfully this has meant a massive spike in corporate interest into the Open Source sphere; hopefully *this* continues for the foreseeable future.

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About Nick

Professional bureaucrat, ex-KUSECWB, graduate & techie-monsta / computer-wrangler; at your service.
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