It’s been about two years since Mozilla pulled the plug on Firefox OS, its browser-based operating system designed for phones, tablets, and smart TVs.

Now the organization is putting the final nail in the coffin: the Firefox Marketplace is shutting down on March 30th, 2018, which means the handful of folks who actually have devices running Firefox OS won’t be able to download apps from the official app store after that.

Firefox OS never really caught on, and no new phones powered by the operating system have shipped in a few years, so I doubt there are many people who will be inconvenienced by the move. But it is one more reminder of just how tough it’s been for competitors to crack the Android/iOS duopoly that dominates the smartphone market at the moment.

Microsoft hasn’t released a Windows phone in years. BlackBerry stopped developing BlackBerry OS to focus on apps and services that run on Android phones. And while there are a few other smartphone operating systems such as Samsung’s Tizen and Jolla’s Sailfish OS, they have a market share that’s pretty close to 0.

What’s interesting is that Firefox OS might have been ahead of its time: when it launched in 2013 an operating system that relied solely on web technologies was at a bit of a disadvantage to those that ran native apps. But with 5G technology on the way, we’re likely to see a growing number of devices that rely on always-connected, low-latency, high-speed data connections that would make web apps feel nearly as fast as native apps. Meanwhile web technologies have come a long way in recent years, enabling support for things like real-time audio and video chat, 3D games, and more.

Then again, Firefox OS may have been a flop not because the underlying idea was bad but because modern operating systems live and die based on the willingness of third-party app developers to code for the platform. And that’s a chicken and egg problem: users don’t want to buy a phone that doesn’t run their favorite apps, but developers don’t want to code apps for platforms that don’t have a large user base.

So it could be a while before Apple and Google see any real competition.

via NotebookCheck



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3 replies on “The app store for Firefox OS shuts down on March 30th”

  1. I always wanted a Firefox OS phone, but was unable to find one until 2 years ago. One of the reasons they were unsuccessful was their phones were only available to developers. I couldn’t find one for sale anywhere. There were even blogs from Mozilla asking people like me NOT to buy them. Why not? I finally found an original orange ZTE Firefox OS version 1 phone on eBay for $30, just as Mozilla pulled the plug on Firefox OS. Sure, it’s a low spec old technology smartphone with a small 3.5 inch screen, but it’s still pretty cool and works great as a ‘Phone’. It’s a shame there were no updates available for mine. The app store was lean on apps the would run with Firefox OS version 1 as well. No chance of any updates or new apps now.

    1. Sorry to tell you, but you are wrong. I got a ZTE Open C right at launch from eBay (it launched as an eBay-exclusive). I am sure the earlier models were also not that hard to find.I tried KitKat on my Open C, it sucked, so in a rush of rage I installed the latest pre-alpha-nighly-something build. Version 2.6.0.0, a lot of stuff missing, a bunch of bugs, but it’s usable. Anyway, I turned the ZTE Open C into a timer/alarm clock and it gets that job done wonderfully (about two weeks autonomy in Airplane mode) and I replaced it with a Xiaomi Mi A1. All in all, Firefox OS was an interesting experience, but it definitely never was a mobile OS for everyone.

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