Following the announcement that Mozilla would stop offering smartphones through operator channels, Ari Jaaksi, Senior Vice President, Connected Devices gives an update on an end-of-life plan for the smartphone project with the Firefox OS 2.6 release. In the second post he provides info on next steps in the Connected Devices space. This includes a Product Innovation Process to identify new IoT product programs and some projects that have already passed the first gate, such as more SmartTV work (building on the success of our work with Panasonic in this space) and new opportunities such as FoxLink (a personal Web of Things) and Vaani.
Firefox OS Smartphones and 2.6
We previously announced that we would stop offering smartphones through operator channels. The main reasons behind the decision were that we could not create a compelling and differentiating end-user value proposition and we failed to build the full ecosystem. Our team and community made an awesome push and created an impressive platform, but the circumstances were not there for Mozilla to win in the commercial smartphone game.
We’ve been working hard on the next steps of what that decision means for our work on future versions of Firefox OS as we prototype Connected Devices solutions. To support this strategic pivot, we are working on an end-of-life plan for the smartphone project with the Firefox OS 2.6 release. This planning also includes end-of-life for Firefox Marketplace across various platforms: smartphones, Firefox desktop and Firefox for Android.
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. Our platform is open, as always, for volunteers, contributors and enthusiasts to improve on and submit patches for further advancement of the OS stack.
There is no change in our plans with Panasonic on their SmartTV line of products. We are excited to continue working with them on a SmartTV experience based on the Firefox OS 2.6 release and beyond. We will also continue our efforts to create a strong web-based content offering on SmartTVs.
All the hard work and resulting code are a good contribution to our future work on Connected Devices and to the Web as a platform. With them both, we added more than 30 WebAPIs and proved the Web is flexible enough to support products from smartphones to TVs — it also stands as a great starting point to proceed to the next phase of Connected Devices.
Next Steps for Connected Devices
We recently announced a pivot for Firefox OS to Connected Devices and I’d like to share an update on the new product innovations we’re working on in the IoT space.
We’ve been working on a Product Innovation Process to identify our new IoT product programs. This process pushes us to think about early-stage ideas as if they were tech-startup projects where teams advocating for them are required to demonstrate a clear consumer value proposition at all points or “gates” in the development cycle: validation (whether there is a problem to solve), productization (whether there is a market fit), and scaling.
As of today, we have a good set of projects that have passed the first gate, including more SmartTV work (building on the success of our work with Panasonic in this space) and new opportunities such as FoxLink (a personal Web of Things) and Vaani. We’re working to open up this innovation process to non-staff participation soon.
Of course, Boot to Gecko (b2g) has been and will continue to be an open source operating system open to contribution.
We’re entering this exciting, fragmented IoT space to ensure users have choice through interoperable, open solutions, and for us to act as their advocates for data privacy and security. This is what we at Mozilla do best and it is indeed this intersection of opportunities and challenges that makes it the right time for Mozilla to focus on this new exciting phase of the Internet!