Mozilla chalks up thousands of Firefox OS apps

Mozilla claims it has got thousands of apps in its Firefox OS marketplace, and has opened a Stack Overflow page to help answer developer questions.

Mozilla says it now has thousands of apps, including dozens of local apps, to run on the Firefox OS ZTE, Alcatel and LG that have launched in a number of markets across the globe.

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Mozilla's developer days and efforts to port HTML5 web apps to Firefox OS over the past year are beginning to pay off, according to the non-profit organisation, which today claimed it had seen "significant momentum with thousands of apps submitted and available".

"We are excited by the developer interest in the short time since we’ve opened the Firefox Marketplace and are impressed by the creativity and innovation inspired by Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs," Rick Fant, Mozilla VP of Firefox Marketplace, said in a statement.

Late last month LG joined ZTE and Alcatel by launching a Firefox OS device, the four-inch Fireweb , on Telefonica. The operator now offers the handset in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, and Mexico, as well as Spain, Colombia, and Venezuela where it already carries Alcatel's Firefox handset, the One Touch Fire.

Meanwhile, as the year's end approaches, Norwegian-headquartered telco Telenor should also be soon launching Firefox OS devices in Hungary, Serbia, and Montenegro, adding to Deutsche Telekom's rollout in Poland and Germany under T-Mobile, with Greece and Hungary also earmarked for Mozilla mobiles.

Mindful that Firefox OS is just in its early days and with a small user base, and to encourage developers to build apps for the platform anyway, Mozilla has a number of projects running to support developers.

Today it launched a new landing page on Stack Overflow, the popular Q&A site for developers and coders, aimed at helping Firefox OS and Open Web App developers.

It's also helping developers get their Firefox OS apps on to other more widely used platforms, such as Android, Linux, OS X and Windows.

One method it's using to make Open Web Apps a little more native on Android devices is by repackaging some apps as native Android apps. Once approved by Mozilla, the apps can be found via Mozilla's Marketplace through Firefox for Android. Since the repackaged apps are installed from an Android APK file, they're placed in the standard Android app drawer like other native apps.

It's also working on enabling Open Web Apps to gain permisssions to use hardware features on Android devices, however a native app experience through the browser isn't expected until next year.

Mozilla hasn't been able to do the same for iOS, since iOS doesn't allow Gecko-based browsers. However, Mozilla is working to have Cordova apps run unmodified on Firefox OS apps and to allow Open Web Apps packaged by Cordova to run on iOS.

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