Two years ago at Mobile World Congress, Mozilla announced its Firefox OS that would be available for smartphones. The problem was that nobody has really cared much about it and it really never took off. The devices were available on $25 phones, but that wasn't enough to make the platform a viable competitor. Now, Mozilla has rekindled the Firefox OS and will be re-entering the mobile world with a new plan.
Mozilla CEO Chris Beard said in an email that the company is working on introducing attractive features to smartphones instead of making affordable options. Beard also mentioned that Mozilla may allow Android apps to run on its devices.
We will build phones and connected devices that people want to buy because of the experience, not simply the price. We have not seen sufficient traction for a $25 phone, and we will not pursue all parts of the program.
Beard's 1,968 word email contains a lot about the vision of Firefox OS, but at the heart of it all is Mozilla's mission to offer something that's "so valuable that people are willing to give up access to the broader ecosystem." Dubbed the Ignite initiative, the new Firefox OS will be aimed at giving users a new way to work offline, a better method of updating software and bringing the platform to more than just smartphones. Beard even said he was going to have Firefox OS support flip phones.
The work is already underway, with the dev team launching Firefox OS 2.0 in the coming weeks. According to Beard's memo, v2.2 will be shipping on entry-level smartphones with partners Mozilla has already lined up.
Can Firefox OS really sustain in the ever-changing landscape of mobile devices? It is safe to assume that Linux users will adopt the OS early, but we'll have to see if that will trickle into the average consumer market.