Mozilla’s Firefox OS will soon be making its debut on devices sold around the world, but until then Mozilla is still working to get developers crafting web apps that will run nicely on Firefox hardware. To that end, Mozilla has seen fit to provide developers with an early preview of its updated Firefox OS simulator and all the new functionality baked into it.
Mozilla has been pushing out these simulators and updates since late last year, but the most notable change with this 3.0 release is that developers can now push existing work-in-progress applications to a connected Firefox OS device (assuming devs have one floating around). Other additions to the mix include the ability to simulate a rotated display as well as support for mucking around with the geolocation API to generate longitude and latitude values.
In case you’re itching to start playing with things, you can download the 3.0 preview here — it installs simply as a Firefox extension, though only Linux users will be able to push apps to devices for the time being.
The timing really couldn’t be better. With the official release of the first Firefox OS devices in Europe and Latin America fast approaching, Mozilla and its carrier and hardware partners will soon find out how Firefox OS will fare against more prominent platforms like Android (not to mention the sea of cheapo devices that run it). Mozillians often eagerly proclaim that “the web is the platform” in reference to the OS’s focus on HTML5 applications, but buy-in from developers willing to create and optimize web apps for mobile (like those at Facebook, Twitter, and Zepto Labs to name a few) may be what ultimately defines Firefox OS as a platform worth paying for.
And what a pack it is! One of the prevailing themes at this past Mobile World Congress was that Microsoft, Google, and Apple aren’t the only players worth paying attention to in the mobile space anymore. BlackBerry is fighting for renewed relevance with BlackBerry 10, but relative mobile upstarts like Mozilla, Jolla, and Canonical are all gearing up to tackle aspects of a market they feel have been underserved so far. Exactly how these Davids will fare against their respective Goliaths remains to be seen, but one thing’s sure — with a slew of companies vying for your attention, it’s a good time to be looking for a new device.