I did not believe these screenshots of Firefox OS from Techweek Europe were genuine until I downloaded the latest nightly build of Boot To Gecko to verify the rumor. What happened, Mozilla? Your initial build of Boot To Gecko looked so unlike any smartphone UI I’ve ever seen. Now you’re entering a crowded marketplace with iOS, Android, Windows Phone Mobile, and BlackBerry 10 with design elements that look suspiciously like Apple’s.
Here’s a screenshot of Firefox OS’s lockscreen that I lined up against Apple’s. Not only is the unlock password interface essentially the same (which may be excusable enough; it’s a simple interface), but the keypad and status bar are in the same spot. The buttons and icons are almost identical. What is going on here?
In another screen, we can see Firefox OS’ app launcher. Like iOS’ SpringBoard, the apps are arranged in columns of 4. Scaled up to match the iPhone’s borders, the round icons take up the same amount of space. Toss in the Firefox icon ripped straight from the desktop and I was convinced that this was a WinterBoard theme. Not the case. If you crawl through Boot To Gecko’s nightly build, you will find the same round icons and interface elements.
How did this happen? As I found out, these aren’t forgeries. Are these just placeholder elements, rough bits of design for developers to use as they fiddle with the code, or is Mozilla intending to release a mobile OS with elements that look so similar to the iPhone’s? Or do they think they can get away with it, like Samsung, by releasing a similar product that is “not cool enough to be confused” with iOS?
Share your thoughts in the comments section below.