Mozilla might not be keen on the general public playing with Firefox OS phones yet, but the Foundation does have an alternative for eager testers. Grab version 3.0 of the Firefox OS simulator, which you can install in your Firefox browser.What’s perhaps most apparent about the new Firefox OS simulator is that the Firefox rendering engine and Gaia interface have been updated. The new versions provide a much more fluid Firefox OS user experience. It boots up faster than ever, too, thanks to Mozilla’s work in reducing the simulator’s footprint. The 3.0 release is more than 20% smaller than the previous version.That’s partly due to the removal of application cruft. The Firefox OS simulator now includes just 15 core apps. All the standard ones you’d expect on a smartphone — phone, messaging, browser, clock, calendar, music, video, etc. are provided.The Marketplace is included, too, and you can use it to install several additional apps if you like. There’s no built-in weather app, so you’ll need to grab something like AccuWeather if you want to keep up on atmospheric conditions. Must-haves like Twitter and Facebook are available too, and both work well inside the simulator. They install in a flash, which is understandable — they’re really just creating homescreen shortcuts to mobile websites.The latest release shows a lot of polish, and it’s clear that Mozilla has been busily filling in the blanks in the run-up to the first big Firefox OS public release. The mail and calendar apps, for example, tackle account creation with ease thanks to auto-configuration support for services like Google’s.So even though you may have missed out on Geeksphone’s Keon and Peak devices… and even though you don’t own a Nexus S… you can still see what Firefox OS is all about on your desktop or laptop. Just grab the latest version of the simulator and fire it up in your browser.
Firefox OS Simulator 3 now available