Mozilla Seabird concept phone

Mozilla has an interesting Seabird concept phone rendering posted to YouTube. It looks great but disappointingly it's not real, contains technology that doesn't yet exist at the consumer scale, and is built on top of Android.

The Android part makes me sad, not because it's Android but because it's not MozillaOS (GeckoOS?). Google is basically doing now with Android what Microsoft did with Windows in the 90s -- providing manufacturers with something they can use pretty much off the shelf rather than rolling their own. So just like Dell, Lenovo, Sony, et. al never bothered to innovate or create great new PC OS, no one who doesn't already have a mobile OS (Apple, RIM, HP via Palm, Microsoft) is going to bother making one any more. Even the so-called Facebook phone looks like it's going to be built on top of Android.

That means, like Dell, Lenovo, Sony, et. al the innovation will turn to hardware, and differentiation will be left to software skins, bloatware, and stickers on the box. Impressive, perhaps, in the Alienware sort of way. But imagine if Mozilla was starting in the browser space now, would they just use Chromium instead of their own Gecko as the foundation for Firefox? Would Facebook have built their social network on the Twitter API?

For a while mobile OS were explosively innovative. We went from Newton to PalmOS to Windows Mobile to BlackBerry to Symbian to iPhone/iOS to Android to webOS and all sorts of experimental Linux-based OS that may or may not see the light of day. It was so much more exciting than the Windows/Mac/Linux pace of PC OS.

Sure it's hard making an OS, even with BSD Unix or Linux at its core. Sure going Android would certainly save Mozilla or Facebook or Verizon (yeah, went there), a lot of time and money, but part of me hoped we were just at some mid-point in the mobile revolution, that we'd still have the chance to be blown away by an iOS or Android or webOS again. That we wouldn't have to wait for the next big transition -- to neuralOS or whatever it will be -- before we get that feeling of everything being new again.

So great concept, great tech, spectacular vision, but that even in a video rendering this wasn't running an amazing MozillaOS as thought-provoking in software as the device looks in hardware, depresses me. (I still want those pico projectors and remotes though!)

Video after the break

[Android Central]