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Mozilla officially calls it quits on Firefox smartphones

Mozilla fails to get a foothold in the smartphone market, falling prey to heavy-hitters like Apple, Google and Samsung

By Derek Strickland from Dec 9, 2015 @ 14:39 CST

Mozilla revealed that it will be pulling out of the smartphone race as titans like Apple, Samsung and Android push the beleaguered open-source company out of the mobile market.


Due to flagging support from consumers and developers alike, Mozilla is surrendering its plans to get a foothold in today's global handset market. In a recent press release, the company announced that its Firefox OS-powered phones will no longer by sold by carriers. The company hoped to tap a niche market with its Firefox phones, which offered cheap and lightweight hardware solutions and new, alternative experience.

"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," said Mozilla's senior vice president of Connected Devices Ari Jaaksi.

Although the physical Firefox smartphones have been nixed, the open-source OS will breathe new life into a vast webwork of interconnected devices across the IoT platform.

"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."

Mozilla's Firefox phones were built around the same open-source ideology as its widely-used web browser. However Firefox OS failed to attract developers to create unique experiences and apps. Without the critical support of developers to adequately tap the vein of potential the OS represented, the devices never gained traction.

Recode also notes that the Firefox phones were Mozilla's attempt to do for the smartphone market as Chromebooks did for the PC market. Consumers' reticence to adopt Chromebooks carries over to Mozilla's Firefox handsets, as users saw little incentive to take a chance on the hardware, especially with today's high-performance smartphones.


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