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Mozilla Stops Development Of Firefox OS Smartphones

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Mozilla calls time on Firefox OS, saying it wasn’t able to develop the “best user experience possible”

Mozilla has confirmed it will stop developing Firefox OS smartphones, bringing its experiment to create low cost, open devices for emerging markets to a close.

The first Firefox OS devices launched in 2013 and as of March 2015 had been available in 40 countries, with 17 created by the likes of Alcatel and ZTE, and operator partners including Telefonica and Verizon Wireless.

It was hoped the platform would emerge as a genuine alternative to Android and iOS, allowing more people to enjoy smartphones with web-based applications making it easier and more open to develop for.

Firefox OS

mozilla-firefox-posterAs recently as March at Mobile World Congress (MWC), Mozilla outlined plans to offer flip phones, but it appears as though Mozilla has conceded defeat in its ambitious target.

“We are proud of the benefits Firefox OS added to the Web platform and will continue to experiment with the user experience across connected devices,” said Denelle Dixon-Thayer, chief legal and business officer at the Mozilla Foundation.

“We will build everything we do as a genuine open source project, focused on user experience first and build tools to enable the ecosystem to grow. Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs. However, we weren’t able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels.

“We’ll share more on our work and new experiments across connected devices soon.”

Mozilla has confirmed to TechWeekEurope that Firefox OS will still be kept alive as a project for other devices, such as smart TVs.

Firefox OS was just one of four open source operating systems hoping to make an impact on the smartphone market, along with Ubuntu Mobile, Sailfish OS and Tizen. However all four have struggled.

Meizu and BQ have launched Ubuntu Mobile handsets, while Sailfish’s backer Jolla is currently battling financial struggles. Smartphones running Tizen have been perpetually delayed, but the operating system has found a home on Samsung’s smart TVs and wearables.

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