Mozila is joining in on the app marketplace race. But instead of going the Amazon, Google and Apple route offering native apps, Mozilla is focusing on mobile web. Firefox for Android now features an online marketplace of mobile web apps for user testing.
Mozilla has just launched the Aurora version of its Firefox for Android, and this release comes with the Firefox Marketplace. This service is not different from Google's Web Store for Chrome, although Firefox Marketplace is meant for mobile devices. At present, all apps in the marketplace are free, as Mozilla is still working on a payment system for premium apps and subscriptions.
The release is meant for early adopters, though, as it's not yet ready for a wider audience. “Our goal is to collect as much real-life feedback as possible about the Marketplace’s design, usability, performance, reliability, and content,” says Mozilla's Bill Walker in the announcement. Meanwhile, for developers, “Firefox Marketplace also offers APIs for app submission, payments, and app discovery.”
Apps run on full-screen mode, and can be pinned to the home screen. Sure, they're not exactly full-fledged native apps, but running mobile apps as HTML5 is one alternative that developers pursue for better cross-platform compatibility, and to mitigate strict app store application processes.
Check out marketplace.mozilla.org from your Firefox mobile browser. Apps are still limited, but Mozilla is hoping early adopters can provide feedback so they can improve the user experience.