Mozilla, the non-profit company that makes the Firefox Web browser has plans to launch on online apps market in 2012, and possibly its very own smartphone, an idea also reportedly being mulled by companies like Amazon and Facebook. The Mozilla Marketplace would be a place to buy apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices, and the Mozilla smartphone plan may even be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress next week in Spain, the San Jose Mercury News reported Feb. 21. There hasn't been much media speculation recently about the rumored Kindle Phone, and Facebook already has the HTC Status (unofficial Facebook phone). But, Mozilla is already talking to manufacturers about their project, Mike Swift wrote on the Mercury News Web site.

The project is codenamed Boot to Gecko because the Mozilla phone would run apps from within the Firefox browser. Gecko is the part of Firefox that renders Web pages using open source standards; Google Chrome and Safari use WebKit. The cross platform app system makes sense for Mozilla because the open Web has been a central part of the foundation's mission, Jay Sullivan, Mozilla vice-president of products told the Mercury News.

Instead of your choice for a particular (mobile) device narrowing your options, we'd like to see the user have control over their online life, Sullivan said.

In that same vein, Mozilla also hopes to build an all in one Web login ID called BrowserID. It would let users register with other Web sites without giving out more personal info than they might want to. This is particularly noteworthy because of recent backlashes against Google and Facebook over their respective privacy guidelines. Tell us in the comments if you think it's a good idea for Mozilla to branch out into apps or its own smartphone and why or why not.