Firefox OS entered Africa this year through a partnership between Orange, Mozilla and Alcatel and is set to have an impact on the African population, especially first time phone buyers. Firefox OS is ever-evolving, and in this article we look at Firefox OS 2.5 and its possible effects on African users.
Firefox OS 2.5 was released in November and is the latest milestone in the journey of the operating system. The main feature and highlight is the amount of customization and power it puts in the hands of users. Some of the big features include ‘Pin the Web’ concept, RTL support, view source and add-ons.
Africa is a booming market with over half the population set to have a mobile phone by 2017. Even Firefox OS packs the features that make the web awesome; most of these features may seem new to some. On the note of familiarization we kick-start our feature list with add-ons.
Add-ons are installable enhancements on Firefox OS. They allow the user to add or augment application features, use themes to their liking and handle new types of content. A single Firefox OS add-on can extend just one app, several, or all of them, including the system app itself. In simple English add-ons, they fill the gap of deficiencies in a particular app or the operating system itself. Add-ons from the perspective of an African user are a way of getting African based and centered content. One of the areas in which add-ons have helped to create an African centric web and has allowed African users to feel at home on the web, is language. Looking at this phenomenon, Firefox OS add-ons would create a conducive environment for productivity for African users.
User privacy is an issue Mozilla is really concerned about, as the Firefox OS 2.5 now shows more commitment to user privacy with tracking protection. Some websites track users to serve ads and present regional specific content. At most of these times users have no knowledge about it.
With Firefox OS 2.5, Mozilla is putting power in the hands of African users to select their own path and protect their identity online.
Making the web more accessible to more people in more languages, is a goal Mozilla is looking at and with Firefox OS 2.5, Mozilla will implement better RTL Support. This will improve Firefox OS adoption in Africa. Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Mauritius are just a few examples of countries in Africa where Arabic is widely used. This implementation is not just about translating text to Arabic but making all aspects of the web RTL friendly.
Pin the Web
Firefox OS 2.5 will see the implementation of pinned apps. The idea of pinned apps is to turn the apps model on its head by making apps something you discover simply by searching and browsing the web. With this concept web apps and websites will act like native apps on the platform. This concept will take away the artificial distinction between web apps and native mobile apps.
As the operating system spreads its wings across the African continent, Firefox OS 2.5 will hopefully bring about change in the lives of Africans and connect more people to the web on the continent as our Firefox OS 2.5 is the most customizable, secure, locally relevant and empowering Firefox OS experience yet – in addition to local content, personalization and privacy features.
Author: Emma Elisha Owusu Akyaw