Sorry Firefox, it’s an Android world

If you had your hopes pinned on soon being able to buy a smartphone running Mozilla’s new Firefox OS from one of the major carriers, prepare to be disappointed. Instead, be prepared to live in an increasingly Android world.

Mozilla has no plans to bring its rival operating system to U.S. carriers, Mitchell Baker, the organization’s executive chair said at the OpenMobile Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday. Baker’s statement represented an apparent backtracking from the organization’s previous position. The company’s former CEO announced in February that Sprint would be offering Firefox phones next year.

Right now, the only way to get a Firefox phone in the United States is to buy the ZTE Open through eBay. But that phone isn’t linked to any carrier and is targeted primarily at developers.

While Mozilla is “exploring” partnerships in the United States with carriers and manufacturers, its real focus is on making low cost phones for developing countries, Baker said.

“For most of the world, price is really important,” she said. “How many cents you can shave off the bottom of the phone is the driving factor.”

While Baker insists that there’s room for phones running Firefox OS in the smartphone marketplace, there’s reason to question that conclusion given the latest market share data.

Market research firm Gartner reported Thursday that Android was the operating system on nearly 82 percent of all smartphones shipped in the third quarter. Even as the smartphone market continued to grow rapidly — manufacturers shipped 250.2 million smartphones in the quarter, up 45 percent from the same period a year earlier — Android outpaced the market. Its share a year ago was 73 percent.

The data echoes a report earlier this week from IDC, another tech research firm, and indicates that Android is consolidating its hold on the smartphone market. Except for Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, all other smartphone operating systems lost share in the quarter.  And even Windows Phone remains a very distant third place.

Among the losers: Apple’s iOS, whose share slipped from 14.3 percent to 12.1 percent; BlackBerry, whose share plunged from 5.2 percent to 1.8 percent; Samsung’s Bada, which fell from 2.6 percent to 0.3 percent; and Symbian, the once dominant smartphone software, which dropped from 2.6 percent to 0.2 percent.

Meanwhile, Windows Phone went from 2.3 percent to 3.6 percent of the market.


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  • SilentLennie

    You forget a few things.

    Shipping is not market share. In the US the market is much more iOS. Also not even 2 billion people use a smartphone now. But 6 billion people in the world use a mobile mobile. So there is still a large market out there. These are people that need a comparitively cheap phone, Mitchell also mentioned that.

    Even if Android is the operating system that is being sold, Firefox on Anrdoid is getting more and more of the browser on Android market. Just today there was an announcement to include Firefox preinstalled on tablets:

    • Debashish

      In India, that hosts a big chunk of your 4 Billion using feature phones, we have 1 ghz dual core android phones for a mere 47$ without contract…. Dont see the point in firefox OS atm. Hopefully they tie up with some OEMs and go top gear.

  • Ajaz Jutt

    Mostly People In Pakistan Are Using Android Mobiles In Qmobile Series Which is In Low Price.