Last year, Mozilla quietly announced it was giving up on trying to build a viable smartphone operating system that could compete with Android and iOS. Today, the company has yet again confirmed the move and offered new specifics on when and how it will sunset Firefox OS on phones — and begin focusing on the Internet of Things.
Development of Firefox OS will cease completely after version 2.6 is released. "The circumstances of multiple established operating systems and app ecosystems meant that we were playing catch-up, and the conditions were not there for Mozilla to win on commercial smartphones," the company said in an announcement. By the end of May, Mozilla will have pulled all staff and resources completely away from Firefox OS.
Many of Mozilla's community members are disappointed by the decision, but the company is resolute that its next mission should be "exploring how we can make the biggest impact in IoT." Mozilla will keep accepting Firefox OS apps "into 2017," so the platform isn't entirely dead; it's just moving away from phones. To that end, the company is already working on and prototyping the best ways of tying together "connected devices" — that aren't smartphones — with something altogether new. Well, it'll be partially new; Mozilla has already said that it'll borrow inspiration from Firefox OS. Still, it'll likely be some time before we hear Mozilla's full plan regarding the Internet of Things, but yet again it'll have to contend with competition from major players like Apple, Google, and Samsung.