Mozilla Discontinues Development of Firefox OS for Smartphones

Mozilla Discontinues Development of Firefox OS for Smartphones

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In an email sent out to developers, Mozilla has informed that it has dropped the axe on Firefox OS for smartphones. This email is also posted on their Discourse for readers to take note of.

We will end development on Firefox OS for smartphones after the version 2.6 release. This means that Firefox OS for smartphones will no longer have staff involvement beyond May.

The decision was taken after analyzing the situation, and finding that Firefox OS, being a young OS, could not compete neck-to-neck with other matured operating systems. The app ecosystem had to continuously play catch-up to remain relevant, and as such, Mozilla did not foresee success on commercial smartphones.

The Firefox Marketplace will also stop accepting submissions for Android, Desktop and Tablet and will remove all apps that don’t support Firefox OS from March 29, 2016. Apps that work on Desktop and Android will also no longer function as their dependent Web Runtime will be removed, so apps will no longer be installed or launched.

All is not lost though. The team has decided that their new area of expertise will be Connected Devices, which is where they will be prototyping the future and exploring how they can make the biggest impact in IoT. Also, Boot to Gecko, which was what Firefox OS was rebranded from, continues to live on as an open source operating system. Mozilla’s Foxfooding program, via which volunteers were invited to test Firefox OS builds and provide usage data, will now focus on “new product innovations” instead of improving the smartphone experience. The specific designs of the program will be detailed by end of March.

You can read the full Discourse here.

The exit of Mozilla from the OS wars is sad news indeed. This move decreases the overall competition and subsequently, the choice that a final consumer has. Afterall, not many OS’s can claim to be open source in nature.

What are your thoughts on Mozilla’s exit from the smartphone OS race? Will this have any effect on the competition? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!