Software giant Mozilla has announced its intention to withdraw Firefox OS from the smartphone market and instead focus on embedded devices in the Internet of Things.
After an announcement was made at the company’s developer event in Orlando, an official blog on the Mozilla website, written by Ari Jaaksi, SVP of Connected Devices, highlighted the potential for Firefox going forwards.
He wrote that “[Mozilla] will focus on products and technologies that allow people to access and manage their world of connected devices, helping to ensure people are empowered, safe and independent.”
“We are excited about the challenges and opportunities ahead of us. We believe that the Web can be the right platform for this future of connected devices and we can’t wait to share more with everyone soon.”
Jaaksi admitted that this exploration would be at the expense of Mozilla’s work in building and shipping smartphones through carrier partners.
The decision to abandon the smartphone market comes as no real surprise to onlookers who have watched since Mozilla first announced the impending release of Firefox OS in February 2013. In July later that year the company rolled out the first batch of Firefox OS smartphones from manufacturing partners Alcatel, LG and ZTE. Although these were primarily targeted at buyers in developing countries in South America and eastern Europe, the low- priced handsets came into the market at the same level as budget android phones, and struggled to compete.
So what does the future hold for Mozilla? If the focus really is shifting to IoT devices, Mozilla will face stiff competition in a growing but crowded marketplace, and will be up against experienced niche developers. And while Mozilla have plenty of expertise in web browsers and email clients, how well this will translate to embedded systems remains to be seen.
If all goes to plan the Firefox OS will soon be in home appliances across the world, including TVs, gateways and hubs. Now, more than ever, they see potential in IoT. Jaaksi wrote that “Everything is connected around us. This revolution has already started and it will be bigger than previous technology revolutions. Internet of Things, as many call it today, will fundamentally affect all of us.