It's been almost three years since ZTE announced the first smartphone to run Mozilla's Firefox OS. The device was called the 'Open', an appropriate name given the open-source nature of the OS; Mozilla even slammed its iOS and Android rivals for not being open enough last year.
But now, Mozilla is closing the door on its smartphone efforts, announcing an end to development and sales of Firefox OS smartphones at its 'Mozlando' developer conference today. In a statement to TechCrunch, Mozilla said:
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. We will build everything we do as a genuine open source project, focused on user experience first and build tools to enable the ecosystem to grow.
Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs. However, we weren’t able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels.
We’ll share more on our work and new experiments across connected devices soon.
As that statement indicates, while Mozilla will no longer commit resources to Firefox OS smartphones, this isn't quite the end of the road. Earlier this year, for example, Panasonic unveiled the first - and so far, the only - TV with Firefox OS on board.
However, the loss of the smartphone branch of the OS will certainly have an effect on the platform, and while Mozilla still refers to plans "to enable the ecosystem to grow", that may not be so easy without a significant number of users and devices, and - more significantly - the confidence of software developers.