"The Mozilla Marketplace enables developers to create and distribute applications that work across HTML5-enabled devices and operating systems (OS)," the company said in a statement. "Mozilla is advancing the Web as a platform and closing the technology gap between Web and native apps, creating new APIs and putting developers back in control of every aspect of the app experience – from easy development and distribution to direct consumer interaction."
Naturally there are positives and negatives about HTML5-based apps. On the plus side, the "write once, deploy everywhere" nature of the HTML5 platform will significantly reduce the cost of creating, versioning and maintaining applications. For consumers, it means they don't need to purchase a version for Android, iOS, Ubuntu, Windows and so on.
But the drawback is that most HTML5 apps are dependent on the Internet, meaning you can't play Angry Birds or CityVille without a connection -- unless it has an offline install feature, that is. And given this is a Mozilla app store, users may need to install Firefox on their device, following in the footsteps of Google and its Chrome browser-only Chrome Web Store.
So now instead of consumers choosing to purchase an app for a specific operating system and hardware set, they now must choose a specific HTML5-based internet browser. At least the choices will be narrowed down until developers discover they can milk consumers by offering limited editions for each browser (here we go again).
"The Web is the largest platform in the world. We are enabling the Web to be the marketplace, giving developers the opportunity to play on the biggest playing field imaginable," said Todd Simpson, Mozilla’s Chief of Innovation. "By building the missing pieces, Mozilla is now unlocking the potential of the Web to be the platform for creating and consuming content everywhere."
Mozilla didn't elaborate on its proposed APIs, but said that they will be submitted to the W3C for standardization. The company also said the Marketplace will open its doors to consumers later this year, but didn't specify a specific timeframe. The Mozilla Marketplace will feature apps in the categories of games, media, music, productivity and more, Mozilla said.