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Hands-on with Mozilla’s Web-based “Firefox OS” for smartphones

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Launching a new mobile OS is a difficult project since the market leaders, Android and iOS, have such a big lead. Even Microsoft, with its near-infinite financial resources and vast ecosystem of complementary products, has struggled to gain traction. And new entrants face a chicken-and-egg problem: developers don't want to write apps for a platform without many users, while users don't want to buy a phone without many apps.

Mozilla, the non-profit foundation behind Firefox, believes it can tackle this dilemma. In 2011, it announced a new project called Boot2Gecko to build an operating system around its browser. Last year the project was re-branded Firefox OS, and Mozilla began preparations for a major push into the mobile phone market.

In February, Mozilla unveiled an impressive initial list of hardware and network partners.

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