Mozilla abandons Firefox OS smartphone efforts

Firefox browser maker Mozilla is pulling out of the smartphone market.

At a developer event in Orlando Tuesday, the organization announced it would cease working with wireless carriers to sell phones running Firefox OS, the operating system based on Web technologies Mozilla developed to compete with Android and Apple’s iOS. Instead, company officials said, Mozilla will focus on developing Firefox OS for use with “connected devices.”

“Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs,” the company said in a statement. “However, we weren’t able to offer the best user experience possible, and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels.”

Mozilla developed Firefox OS as an alternative to Android, pitching it to carriers, consumers and manufacturers as a more open platform and one for use in inexpensive phones. Unlike Android or iOS, Firefox OS doesn’t run native apps and doesn’t attempt to restrict users to apps acquired from a particular store. Instead, it runs and allows users to install the same kind of Web apps that can run in a regular Web browser.

The organization announced the first Firefox OS phones in 2013. But the operating system has struggled to gain traction since then. It’s only been available on a handful of phones in a smattering of countries around the world. No major U.S. carriers have offered Firefox OS phones. Meanwhile, much of the opportunity for Firefox OS has been eliminated as cheap Android-based phones have become popular in developing countries.

Mozilla had already been attempting to repurpose Firefox OS for other devices. Earlier this year, Panasonic released a series of smart TVs based on the operating system.

Some industry analysts have long argued that there is room in the smartphone market for a third major operating system in addition to Android and iOS. But to date, none of the potential competitors, which have included offerings from Microsoft, BlackBerry and Hewlett-Packard, has made significant inroads in the market and in recent years, the two giants have only become more dominant.

Photo illustration: Huawei Ascend Y300 Firefox OS phone. (Courtesy of Mozilla.)

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

 

Share this Post



 
 
 
 
 
css.php