Earlier this month, Mozilla announced that it was pulling the plug on Firefox OS smartphones, thereby bringing to an end the hope of an open source contender in the mobile space from a non-profit organization like the Mozilla Foundation. The reason provided by the company was that it was unable to provide the best user experience, but that was partly because of the single-minded focus on making the software work on extremely low-end hardware, presumably, to keep costs in check. However, with Google and Apple dominating the mobile ecosystem since the start of the decade, even companies with deep pockets like Microsoft and BlackBerry have found it difficult to compete on even terms with the two incumbents, who, between them, control over 95 percent of the smartphone market. So the folks over at Mozilla always had their task cut out for them.
When the organization first decided to launch its own contender in the mobile OS space a couple of years back, it had managed to sign up partners like Spanish telecom company Telefonica, Chinese electronics manufacturer ZTE, TCL-owned French brand Alcatel, Philippine electronics company Cherry Mobile and Indian phone brand Intex, to name a few. Now, however, one of the largest operators in Europe, Telefonica, has decided to abandon the platform in favor of Android – Cyanogen OS, to be precise. This makes the company the latest in a growing list of Cyanogen OS adopters that include ZUK, YU and Wileyfox. Telefonica has announced that its first batch of COS-powered devices have started shipping in Spain, and will reach German and British shores sometime next year. The company also says that it plans to go beyond the confines of its traditional markets and introduce its Cyanogen-loaded devices in newer territories as well.
As for Firefox OS, it may not be found on smartphones any longer, but Mozilla is far from pulling the plug on the platform itself. According to the announcement by Mozilla earlier this month, Firefox OS will continue to live on in other smart, connected devices, as per Mozilla’s stated endeavor of promoting open-source software. According to the organization’s SVP of Connected Devices, Mr. Ari Jaaksi, “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”.