Firefox OS says goodbye and the world wonders if there are alternatives to the Apple and Google duopoly
A few months ago we told you how Mozilla had killed the Firefox phone, and although some of us were then reluctant to believe in the end of this platform, its developers have decided that Firefox OS is not only meaningless on mobile: they will stop dedicating resources to the project. completely.
The end of Firefox OS as a platform is a new technological tragedy: that of courageous and honest projects that fail to compete due to lack of resources or support. Other mobile platforms are still trying to generate interest and gain market share, but today it seems clear that there is no one who coughs Android and iOS.
A proposal that could never compete with the greats
When Firefox OS came to the market with a fantastic proposal in which the commitment to web applications and emerging markets seemed evident. This may have been an interesting first step, but that freedom that was the basis of the entire project could also be one of the causes of his premature death.
The Mozilla platform made us optimistic, but little by little its impact was reduced and some stressed then that perhaps what the operating system needed was a high-end terminal based on Firefox OS that allowed it to demonstrate everything it could give of itself. .
That terminal never arrived, and although the hardware proposals were improving, the software platform could never compete with the offers of Google and Apple: the catalog of applications was diffuse and not particularly attractive, the user experience was highly improvable and the great absences in the software field - WhatsApp was a good example - they questioned the "practical" future of the platform again.
The development of the platform ended up stopping and trying to bet on other segments to give it one last chance that finally could not be taken advantage of. Not even on TV, where projects like Matchstick ended up being canceled after creating a lot of expectation. The dream was over.
Goodbye to Firefox OS
An announcement in the list of developers has made it clear that Mozilla will stop devoting resources to the development of Firefox OS, and in fact current owners of devices based on this platform will not receive updates ... unless they work on the code themselves Gecko.
In that statement, Ari Jaaksi and David Bryant, responsible for the project, explained how the abandonment of mobile phones was going to give way to an approach aimed at Firefox OS TV and connected devices, but the lack of collaboration from a commercial partner that should have assumed The main responsibility ended up triggering the final decision. In the message they make it clear that development is completely abandoned:
Today we are announcing the next phase in that evolution. Although the work of Mozilla in Firefox OS has stopped, we need the base code to continue to evolve since it contains Gecko, our engine for the web platform, as part of the development that we are carrying out in Firefox. In order to rapidly evolve and enable substantial new changes to the Gecko architecture, the Mozulla Platform Engineering organization needs to remove all code from B2G [Boot to Gecko, the "internal" name of Firefox OS] from the mozilla-central repository. This certainly has consequences for B2G OS. In order for the community to continue working on B2G OS they will have to maintain a code base that includes a full version of Gecko, so they will need to fork Gecko and continue that development in their own development branch.
We know these decisions for those like us who had high hopes and dreams and worked together on Firefox OS - the idea of a user-centric Mozilla Open Source operating system for the mobile segment. We also admit that this decision makes it much more difficult for the B2G community to continue its work. We wish we had found another option. However, we believe that these are necessary decisions and the best possible way for Mozilla to continue its mission. > >
Android and iOS have no competition (in sight)
What has happened to Firefox OS shows how complex it is to compete in an already mature segment and that it will hardly open the doors to alternatives that cannot compete in benefits.
We have seen how many tried it too. Ubuntu, Sailfish and Tizen have put forward proposals with different perspectives, but none of them has managed to offer a proposal that really fits the market. The number of devices distributed on these platforms -except perhaps in the case of Tizen- has been very limited, and they have usually been aimed at niches of users who are highly committed to this type of proposal that has never fully convinced the general public.
They have not done so because they do not offer attractive terminals in which they can be used, or because they cannot compete on usability or the fluidity of the system, but fundamentally where they have not been able to compete is in the software catalog. Without a WhatsApp, an Instagram or a native YouTube - to name a few examples - the future of these solutions has always been difficult. They continue fighting, but a priori their situation does not seem to be improving dramatically.
The only potential contender was, of course, Microsoft. Windows 10 proposed a real alternative and an ambitious proposal that finally picked up the baton of some Windows Phone that made us think that a third player in the market could arrive. It was not like that: we have not heard Microsoft talk about mobile devices for months, and neither have its traditional partners in the PC world practically made an appearance in a scenario in which only HP and its interesting Elite x3 have brought a novelty in this market.
The commitment to convergence that we finally glimpse in the Lumia 950 XL has not been very convincing. The platform has proven not to be mature in a particularly demanding terrain in which users know that both iOS and Android already carry out their homework well done. The software catalog has always been one of the great criticisms of Windows Phone and Windows 10, but the truth is that neither in this nor the support for other manufacturers or in the dedication to commercialize these mobiles - Microsoft's marketing has been scarce in this sense - the company has been right.
We do not know if Windows 10 on mobile will manage to overcome the comeback, but today it is still the only option for resources and maturity to compete with that duopoly that is increasingly so and that seems to know that it is the winner of a battle that has changed. our way of interacting with technology.
In Xataka | Are there options for alternative mobile operating systems? We discussed it on video