The death of the Firefox OS smartphone
The Firefox OS smartphone has been discontinued by Mozilla. This comes as no real surprise, given the intense competition in the smartphone market and the domination of Apple's iOS and Google's Android phones.
Ingrid Lunden reports for TechCrunch:
Farewell Firefox OS smartphones. Mozilla today announced an end to its smartphone experiment, and said that it would stop developing and selling Firefox OS smartphones. It will continue to experiment on how it might work on other connected devices and Internet of Things networks.
To differentiate from Android and iOS, Mozilla and its carrier partners focused on a web-first platform, with no native and only web apps. Sales, however, were always poor and the devices themselves failed to ignite a lot of consumer interest, and a number of OEMs cornered the market with a flood of cheap handsets. In a business that depends on economies of scale, it was a failure.
Firefox OS was first unveiled in 2013, with the aim of targeting the developing world and late adopters with low-cost handsets.
The death of the Firefox OS smartphone caught the attention of Linux redditors and they shared their thoughts in a long thread:
Jringstad: ”I don't want to say "told you so", but... well... told you so. I developed for FFOS and dog-fooded various FFOS phones (keon, peak, ...) for about a year back in the day, when telefonica, telenor and various other telcos were totally on board with the idea and needed developers to push the (still non-existant) app ecosystem forwards.
Not only was FFOS late to the party, it was also terribly naive, poorly thought out and massively lacking. You'd think if you are late to the party, you should at least learn from the mistakes others made, but FFOS really did not do that at all. ”
Nightofthelivingham: ”Mozilla has had a lot of spaghetti moments lately. A LOT of them.
They went from the largest market share in the browser wars, and held a nice position for years, taking advantage of Microsoft's incompetence to becoming an inefficient joke that lags behind google.
It's like the people who actually helped firefox become the David to Microsoft's Goliath left and were replaced with a committee that constantly produces bad ideas.”
Bobby: ”This is pretty sad news. I've always though about the Firefox OS like I've thought about the OpenMoko project, "this is neat, I might not need/want it, but at least somebody is doing something". I was looking forward to use a Firefox OS device someday, they seemed like neat devices.”
Fixedthatforme: ”Yay. That flushing sound would be several million dollars of money that could've been used for actually improving Firefox and other worthwhile projects. Yet it was spent on something that had no prayer of ever actually gaining a foothold. Well done Mozilla. Oh well, at least they're stopping the bleeding rather than throwing good money after bad...”
F22rapture: ”FirefoxOS resulted in MANY improvements to Firefox proper, particularly where it came to performance and closing up memory leaks. It's not like it was wasted effort. And FirefoxOS did gain a decent foothold in developing countries, where it was always intended to go.”
StalkerShrike: ”Everybody is complaining, yet is anyone in this subreddit happy with the current dichotomy? Does anyone feel that it's a good thing that the web is in the hands of Google and Apple? Everyone keeps complaining about how Mozilla is 'killing' firefox, but in most arguments on that point very tech savvy arguments are used, which do not extend to the normal user. I for one hate the demise of another open source project.”
Aspensmonster: ”Finally. Mozilla: please please please stay focused on Firefox and its attendant projects. ”
BloodyIron: ”What was their competitive advantage over iOS or Android? Faster? Features they didn't have? Better phones? Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. To get market share in the phone industry you need to come out swinging, not just show up.”
Fantonald: ”Cheaper. The plan was to sell the phones to the hundreds of millions of people that can't even afford the cheapest Android model. And then the cheapest Android phones got even cheaper, and that potential market disappeared.”
Anatolya: ”...I'll bite the head of the first Mozilla apologist in this thread who says "hindsight 20/20". No. It was written on the wall and everybody told that, but of course it's not surprising criticism-deaf Mozilla apologists didn't hear it back then and now they'll try to make it look like it was worth trying.”