While this one is certainly skirting the border of game development news as almost no games were developed for Firefox OS, but the death of an OS generally merits at least a few lines of text. Started in 2011, the first Firefox OS device shipped in 2013, FF OS was designed as a Linux kernel that booted to the Firefox browser. Very similar in scope to Chrome OS, it received even less success than Chrome OS, which itself is on life support these days. Even the idea of a mobile OS built around a web stack wasn’t new, as Palm, then HP attempted it with WebOS, another mobile HTML5 powered operating system that has joined the operating system graveyard.
I don’t know about you but to me this one seems to be a non starter at this point. It’s actually a bit of a shame too as iOS is getting worse with every release and frankly I trust Apple or Google about as far as I can throw a transport truck, so a viable free and open option in the OS space would certainly be a good addition.
From the announcement on Mozilla:
The purpose of this email is to share a follow up to what was announced by Ari Jaaksi, Mozilla’s SVP of Connected Devices, in early December49 — an intent to pivot from “Firefox OS” to “Connected Devices” and to a focus on exploring new product innovations in the IoT space. We’re sharing this on behalf of Ari and the Connected Devices leadership group.
In particular, there are a few decisions that we want to share along with what will happen next. We’ll elaborate more below, but let us start by being very clear and direct about 4 decisions that have been made:
- We will end development on Firefox OS for smartphones after the version 2.6 release.
- As of March 29, 2016, Marketplace will no longer accept submissions for Android, Desktop and Tablet, we will remove all apps that don’t support Firefox OS. Firefox OS apps will continue to be accepted into 2017 (we have yet to finalize a date for when we won’t continue accepting these apps).
- The Connected Devices team has been testing out a new product innovation process with staff, 3 products have passed the first “gate” and many more are in the pipeline. Having multiple different product innovations in development will be the approach moving forward, and we’re hoping to open up the formal process to non-staff participation in the first half of the year.
- The foxfooding program will continue and will focus on these new product innovations (rather than improving the smartphone experience). We expect the Sony Z3C foxfooding devices to be useful in this, but we expect it to take until the end of March to figure out the specific design of this program.
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.
RIP Firefox OS.