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February 5, 2016

Last Version of Firefox OS to be Released in May

Mozilla's Connected Devices to Focus on Product Innovation Going Forward

ZTE image — The ZTE Open Firefox phone.

The final version of Mozilla’s Firefox OS for mobile — version 2.6 — will be is released in May.

Mozilla announced at its developer’s conference back in December that it will no longer develop Firefox OS or have Firefox OS-powered Smartphones manufactured. In a Thursday blog post, the company offered up more details on what its customers can expect.

Also, as of March 29, Marketplace will no longer accept submissions for Android, desktop and tablet and all apps that don’t support Firefox OS will be removed. Firefox OS apps, however, will continue to be accepted into 2017.

Mozilla’s Connected Devices team, meanwhile, will have a new job: product innovation. The team is currently in test mode and, thus far, three products have passed the first “gate” and “many more are in the pipeline.”

firefox-os_phone-splash-watch_RGB1“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,” said George Roter, head of the Mozilla Participation Lab.

“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.”

Mozilla senior vice-president of connected devices Ari Jaaksi said the company’s decision to axe Firefox OS was due to quality control.

The problem, he wrote in a Feb. 4 blog post, was that “the circumstances were not there for Mozilla to win in the commercial Smartphone game.”

That does not means all that hard work will be wasted, however.

“Although Mozilla development of the smartphone OS will cease with 2.6, the OS stack will be used for Smart TVs and potentially other devices in the future,” Jaaksi said. “Our platform is open, as always, for volunteers, contributors and enthusiasts to improve on and submit patches for further advancement of the OS stack.”

The project, initially, was a bid to provide the “emerging world” with an operating system built on open Web standards. Affordable mobile phones running Firefox OS were later added to the mix.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.