Convincing smartphone users to try a different operating system is no easy task as it typically means they have to get a new smartphone that runs it. But Mozilla has gotten around this by making Firefox OS 2.5 Developer Preview available to those rocking an Android device as a launcher.
Android users who want to give the developer preview of Firefox OS 2.5 a go basically have to download the app from Mozilla, install it and then select the appropriate launcher. Unlike a typical Android launcher, Mozilla's offering changes pretty much everything to match the upcoming Firefox OS 2.5, including the settings menu and notifications panel.
It's obvious that Mozilla put quite a lot of thought into this launcher. Unlock your Android device and hand it to someone who doesn't know you're using a different launcher and they might be tempted to say it's running Firefox OS.
The launcher's UI does not "integrate" with third-party apps, which, when open, show the Android status bar at the top. But you can test the in-app experience of Firefox OS 2.5 Developer Preview by opening one of the apps included with the launcher.
Mozilla has included 13 new apps, the list of which includes Phone, Messages, Firefox browser, Video and Settings to name but a few. The Firefox OS 2.5 Developer Preview settings menu, for instance, is triggered when the user taps on the gear button in the notifications panel.
There are some issues with the launcher, like the fact that on my OnePlus 2 some icons look fuzzy, the information from various accounts I have set up is not mirrored by the launcher in its apps and the phone app doesn't let you make calls, but users can get a good idea of what Firefox OS 2.5 will be like when it debuts, likely early in 2016.
Based on my time with the launcher, it is clear that Firefox OS 2.5 will not be as feature rich as Android 5.1.1 Lollipop or 6.0 Marshmallow. And, because of that, I don't think that Mozilla has created this app to lure Android users, but rather to give them the opportunity to get familiar with Firefox OS so that, when its mobile OS is ready for them, a potential switch will involve as little friction as possible.
To install the app you need to have the unknown sources option turned on under Security in Android's Settings menu. To read more about the Firefox OS 2.5 Developer Preview launcher, check this Mozilla blog post.