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Device operating systems

OS Watch: Mozilla Getting WAC?

The wireless operators' Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) hasn't done much on apps, but it may be ready to tackle a mobile operating system with help from Firefox as this week's OS watch gets underway.

  • Mozilla looks to carriers for mobile OS: As if there weren't enough OSs to choose from, Mozilla has one more. The owner of the Firefox Web browser will be promoting its own new OS, Mozilla's Boot to Gecko, for Web apps at Mobile World Congress. Firefox plans to announce partners for the open, browser-based OS at the show, and CNet surmises that the most likely partners will be the wireless operators, who have lost much of their power to the likes of Android and Apple. Perhaps the so-far-quiet WAC will resurface as a potential candidate as it looks for a home for its browser-based apps. (See MWC 2011: WACky Times in Barcelona.)

  • Ice Cream Sandwich melting down: Motorola Mobility LLC excitedly announced which of its Android phones would be updated to Ice Cream Sandwich, but the handset maker said the updates won't come until the third quarter of the year. While Droid owners are waiting, many new ICS models will come to market. Moto bemoaned the upgrade process to Light Reading sister company InformationWeek , noting that it can take three to six months or more and cost almost as much as developing the original OS for the device.

  • Jelly Beans ahead?: Have no fear; while you're waiting on ICS updates, Jelly Bean may already be on the horizon. According to the rumor-loving DigiTimes, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is prepping the next Android version, Jelly Bean, for a second-quarter launch. This OS version will be a competitor to Windows 8, but the site says it may also run alongside Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s OS in tablets, so users can toggle between the two without shutting down.

  • Apple's Mountain Lion looks mobile: Apple introduced its latest OS for the desktop, Mountain Lion, but the software has a number of decidedly mobile features. The developers' preview, unveiled this week, includes iOS 5's iMessage, iCloud, a notification center and a game center, as well as tighter integration between the desktop and mobile. One iOS feature, or rather person, to not make the cut was Siri.

  • HP says Google may close down: HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ)'s new CEO Meg Whitman is talking a big game in her first months at the helm. Now that HP is open-sourcing webOS, she's suggesting it may be more open than Android. "I think that Android may end up as a closed system because of [Google's] relationship with Motorola," she said during a partner conference, reported by Channel EMEA. While not providing any news about webOS, she did promise that "we’ve got our swagger back."

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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