The Mozilla Foundation will stop developing its open-source Firefox OS for smartphones, to instead focus its efforts on the emerging IoT software market.
In an announcement to the developer community earlier today, John Bernard, director of collaboration for Connected Devices at Mozilla, and George Roter, head of core contributors, confirmed that Firefox OS for smartphones will be canned at version 2.6.
“The circumstances of multiple established operating systems and app ecosystems meant that we were playing catch-up, and the conditions were not there for Mozilla to win on commercial smartphones,” they said in a statement.
Subsequently, the Firefox OS Marketplace will no longer accept submissions for Android, desktop and tablet apps. Apps for Firefox OS itself will remain accepted until sometime in 2017.
In place of mobile software development, Mozilla says that its Connected Devices team is already focused on IoT software and devices. In the announcement, the consortium said that it is internal testing phase with three products (including Firefox OS for Smart TVs), with many more in the pipeline for possible future release.
The statement continued “Obviously, these decisions are substantial. The main reason they are being made is to ensure we are focusing our energies and resources on bringing the power of the web to IoT. And let’s remember why we’re doing this: we’re entering this exciting, fragmented space to ensure users have choice through interoperable, open solutions, and for us to act as their advocates for data privacy and security.”
Open-source software is expected to be a big driver of IoT in the coming years, as mentioned by Labour MP Chi Onwurah at a recent BIO Agency briefing on the connected world. However, there are doubts over IoT software privacy and security, especially as many early IoT consumer devices have already been found to be vulnerable to attack and data leakage.