Firefox OS

Why the hell did we choose Firefox OS over Android and iPhone?

Since posting that we’re now on the Firefox OS Store I’ve had numerous inquiries over why we’re already on Firefox OS yet have neglected to release Tower Storm on Android or iPhone (you can play it in the browser on both devices).

Here’s why, and It’s one of the reasons I believe Firefox OS has a fighting chance over Blackberry / Windows as the 3rd most dominant smart phone (I doubt it will reach the top two spots but you never know). It’s because Firefox OS is a phone that runs completely on HTML5 / Javascript. This made it dead easy to port Tower Storm to it, no wrapper or additional software required.

Now writing in Javascript isn’t the best for performance¬†however it’s a very smart decision on Mozilla’s part because it means it’s far far easier to port websites and games to the platform. And for simple sites or games you don’t need blazing fast native code, most companies just want something that works.

This means restaurants, shopping centers and even the local car dealership can turn their website into an app far more easily and cheaply than any other platform. This is very powerful in the countries Mozilla is targeting such as Brazil and Spain as there are millions of small mom and pop shops that want a mobile app for their shop and can’t because hiring a developer to build a mobile app for them costs a ton of money (have you seen prices lately!? iOS developers where I live get paid $80k minimum), while hiring a developer to write a manifest file and zip up their websites files is dead simple. I won’t be surprised if most web development shops in these countries offer customers the ability to turn their site into a Firefox OS app for a few extra dollars.

Sure there’s Phonegap and Trigger.io for android and iPhone (the latter of which I’ll be using to get Tower Storm on these devices soon) but the kicker is once the small business has gone ahead and ported the website to these devices it’s dead simple to get it on Firefox OS too. Thus Firefox OS will build a massive ecosystem of apps far quicker and easier than any of the other minor platforms.

So why Firefox OS? Because it was brain dead easy and I believe this platform is going to be very strong in a few years. I tried to port Tower Storm to Android (using Phonegap) a few months ago and it was fraught with complications. If you can make a website you can build an app for Firefox OS and get it into the store tonight. Frankly I’m surprised more web games haven’t already been ported to it, perhaps once they stop being sold out of phones this will change.