Last summer, Mozilla outlined a vision for a "standalone operating system for the open web." The operating system would be based on the same software foundation as Google's Android, and it would be called Boot to Gecko (after the rendering engine that powers Firefox).
Fast forward seven months, and Mozilla is now publicly demonstrating an early version of Boot to Gecko. The guys at Engadget got a private tour at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain earlier today, and they've posted it on Viddler:
Boot to Gecko's user interface is based on HTML5 and WebGL, and it looks surprisingly far along. There appear to be functional web browser, maps, dialer, camera, video playback, and marketplace apps, all built using web APIs and usable with touch input just like regular phone apps. Performance ranges from snappy to sluggish, but everything does seem to be working.
According to an announcement published yesterday, Mozilla has teamed up with Spanish mobile carrier Telefónica on the project. The two companies say they're "developing this HTML5 operating system on a hardware platform that is based upon a Qualcomm chipset," and their joint Open Web Devices platform will "launch in 2012."
The demo looks neat enough, but I don't know if there's room in the market for yet another mobile operating system—especially one that, technical elegance aside, doesn't really look too different from current offerings. Perhaps developers may feel differently, though.