Mozilla has announced it will discontinue development and support for FirefoxOS. The beleaguered OS had failed to capture significant market share against other Linux-based competitors such as Android, Tizen, Mer, and SailfishOS, of which Android controls a commanding share.
The announcement was given today at Mozilla’s developer conference, Mozlando. TechCrunch was able to obtain a comment from Ari Jaaksi, Senior Vice President of Connected Devices at Mozilla:
“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. 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.”
FirefoxOS was not able to attract interest from developers nor from hardware manufacturers. Very few phones were ever shipped with it, with the install base primarily in developing countries in Asia. As an open source project under the Mozilla Public License, the code is available to any entity that would be interested in continuing the project, similar to HP's WebOS when HP discontinued that product line.
This announcement comes at a time when Mozilla is restructuring to devote all of its available resources to Firefox. They have in the past week announced a desire to spin off the Thunderbird email client to another group.
This was an inevitability. FirefoxOS never had any traction with users, developers, or hardware makers, and the decision to use nothing but HTML5 apps was incredibly short-sighted. The lack of apps and media capabilities made it unattractive, particularly when Android could be used by manufacturers at no charge.