Images of Mozilla's Firefox OS Marketplace leak online

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The current version of Firefox OS' start screen

Mozilla's Firefox OS for mobile devices isn't set to debut until 2013, but purported images of the app marketplace for the HTML5-based mobile platform recently leaked online. Although Mozilla allows anyone to download and try out the new mobile OS using a desktop emulator (or a mobile device if you have the chops), the app marketplace and other features about the OS are still restricted to participating developers. But Engadget recently obtained several shots of what it says is the upcoming mobile marketplace.

Firefox OS, who cares?

The world is already replete with competing mobile platforms and their respective app stores including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and, maybe someday, BlackBerry 10. So why do we need yet another competitor? Unlike the aforementioned closed systems, Firefox OS relies entirely on Web technologies including HTML5 and JavaScript.  Everything right down to the phone dialer is written using Web tools.  This will allow Web-based applications to directly access native capabilities of the Firefox OS such as the camera, GPS, or gyroscope. Mozilla says Web apps have a more difficult time accessing these capabilities on other smartphone platforms.

The other big push behind Firefox OS is that its Web-centric approach means the mobile software won't be as processor intensive as other platforms. That should make it possible to offer lower-powered and cheaper smartphones that are just as functional as premium devices including the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy SIII. That's the hope anyway, but we'll have to wait and see how these devices behave in the real world before buying into that claim.

The first Firefox OS devices are set to roll out in Brazil in 2013, an ideal market for cheap-but-functional smartphones. Sprint has signed up to be a Firefox OS partner in the U.S.; however, it's not clear when, or if, the devices will launch on American shores.

Here's a quick look at the Firefox OS Marketplace leak, but keep in mind that this is still a work in progress and, therefore, subject to change.

The Marketplace

Courtesy of Engadget

Engadget notes that the Firefox OS Marketplace is category-focused as opposed to giving over the entire start screen to a selection of featured apps. The Marketplace home screen currently includes six featured apps, most of which appear to be placeholders at the moment, and then categories such as books & reference, business, education, games, and so on. The Marketplace home screen also features a search button.

Each app also has its own details page featuring a description, user reviews, links to user support, the app developer's homepage, and other basic features. There are also pages for your own personal user account, an about page, as well as a list of installed apps on your device.

The Marketplace looks pretty bare bones right now, but it's clear that Mozilla is making strides with its software as we approach the 2013 launch of Firefox OS.

Mozilla is also hard at work on a Web app marketplace for PCs, which was originally announced in late 2010. The PC marketplace is operational, but available only to developers at the moment. However, Mozilla says it plans to open the store to wider testing in the coming months. So keep an eye on the Firefox Marketplace for upcoming announcements.

This story, "Images of Mozilla's Firefox OS Marketplace leak online" was originally published by TechHive.

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