Mozilla and a number of its partners announced the Open Web Device Compliance Review Board, a catchily-named organisation designed to drive standardised implementations across the “open Web device ecosystem”.
The initiative will also be “the foundation for Mozilla’s Firefox OS branding requirements”.
Supporters of the new body include Deutsche Telekom, KDDI, LG Electronics, Sony, Spreadtrum, TCL, Alcatel OneTouch, Telefonica, Telenor and ZTE – unsurprisingly, a very similar list to that of the current movers and shakers in the Firefox OS market.
Mozilla’s intention is to head-off fragmentation, which is a danger with any “open” technology platform. While vendors could create a custom implementation of the platform, failure to meet compliance requirements mean it would not be able to wear the Firefox OS badge.
This is a not dissimilar approach to the one Google has taken with Android. While there are custom implementations (such as Amazon’s Fire OS and Alibaba’s Aliyun/Amos) these are not able to wear the Android badge or connect to the Google Play content and apps ecosystem.
The initiative will, Mozilla said, “ensure API compliance and make the experience of open Web devices consistent for consumers; enable device OEMs and carriers to improve time to market; [and] minimise OEM costs required for compatibility testing.”
“Users want a wide selection of devices and great apps. Operators, device OEMs and vendors want to be able to develop and test quickly and independently, in order to get new products to market. The CRB will enable partners to do so efficiently, reliably and confidently,” said Andreas Gal, vice president of mobile at Mozilla and president of the CRB.
Having made a big splash at this year’s Mobile World Congress, devices powered by Firefox OS have begun rolling out across a number of markets – it is now up to 13 markets, supported by Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Telenor, with devices from Alcatel OneTouch and ZTE.
But so far the platform has not broken out of the “others” category in the device platforms battle.