back to article Mozilla confirms its Firefox OS phones are dead

Mozilla announced at the Mozlando developer conference in Florida that it has officially abandoned attempts to get a foothold in the smartphone market with its Firefox OS system. "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 …

Anonymous Coward

To the commentard yesterday who referred to FFOS as a collosal waste:

You were right.

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Unhappy

Firefox OS for TVs was quite promising and it was something they could actually charge for, unless the whalesong and joss sticks overpowered them and they gave it away to TV manufacturers for free.

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Mad.

They lost sight of their mission.

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Re: Mad.

Exactly.

Somehow wasting a gigantic slice of resources on a guaranteed lost cause was OK. At the same time maintaining a working mail client (something people use and which has an active userbase) is not. Yeah I know, it is not kewl. It goes against the grain of the hipster beard.

What a bunch of whalesong addicted numpties.

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Re: Mad.

No, you've got it all wrong, see!

You'll never make lots of money from a mail client, but you might make squilllions from mobile because Nokia, Apple, and Google managed it!

Forget that nowadays a phone that just phones and browses is as dead as Netware. Forget that what people actually care about is how to stay in touch with their friends, which means partly text but mostly Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Kik, Snapchat, Instagram, Viber and others. That really good maps is now not on users' 'optional' list.

Forget that the large social media players/communicators are so protective of their APIs that it's becoming anti competitive, and the only effective way to access their services is to pay them, and bend to their rules or try and make your own app, and note it will break every fortnight as you play a game of cat and mouse.

It's absolutely fine to take your eye off the ball and waste resources on an OS, when your core browser eats memory and hangs even worse than Chrome when one tab misbehaves.

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Allow the apps to run in both mobile and desktop

I figure they could've gotten a decent edge by running a cloud to host every app so that the app could be run in both the desktop browser as well as on the mobile device. They could even throw in a secured version of Flash so that any Flash or HTML5-based browser game can be used as an app for FirefoxOS. The phone could then just communicate with a website for the app (Add in some standard website caching to reduce the load)

For revenue, they could extend the HTML5 standard with DRM on the HTML/JS itself and an Ad-frame tag. Especially if the DRM was based on standard x.509 certificates, it'd go like this:

*user buys Angry Birds and transaction goes through

*User's certificate would then be added to the ACL for AngryBirds.store.firefoxOS.com (Or some other URL scheme)

*User can now either go to the site and play / use the app they bought

Such a scheme could also allow a user to authenticate against anything without ever needing a password beyond setting a password on the phone (Which can be the same as their master password for their regular desktop firefox account), they'd simply authenticate with their personal certificate to the various services. The personal certificate could also be used with other browsers and phones. This way, you can theoretically create a truly platform agnostic app store and crush the competition by way of compatibility. Hell, they could even compete on the desktop OS level at that point...

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Re: Trojans

x.509 . Angry birds. Really?

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Re: Allow the apps to run in both mobile and desktop

If the early Netscape browsers had a client-side certificate feature, then the web today might be a place with single sign on.

When the feature did appear, the already established certificate vendors tried to monetize it, which caused early adopters to reject it. Generating another username and password pair are zero cost.

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Re: Allow the apps to run in both mobile and desktop

"Generating another username and password pair are zero cost."

Except in terms of security, of course.

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Re: "x.509 . Angry birds. Really?"

I was just picking a popular and well-known app that behaves similar to your typical flash game and would be trivial to port over to HTML5.

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Lesson learned?

"joined Mozilla on the project less than six months ago, but he has had practice in this sort of situation. He spent 12 years at Nokia, helping to develop the now-defunct MeeGo mobile operating system, before moving to HP to take charge of webOS, which the firm later dumped."

If you're trying to build a new phone OS, don't hire Ari Jaaksi?

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Re: Lesson learned?

Either just plain unlucky in the jobs chosen, or needs rebranding as Jonah?

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Re: Lesson learned?

Maybe he's been a bit of an arse.

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Re: Lesson learned?

He's the Unsinkable Molly of phone OSes.

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Coat

Re: Lesson learned?

Dammit! —stole my joke*. Have an upvote anyway.

[*Mind you, I was going to work 'Ari' [possibly] being pronounced 'airy into mine]

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make the world a better place

put this person Jaaksi in charge of windows 10, thanks

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Re: make the world a better place

Funny, but a bit harsh. As a user, I really liked webos.

Personally, I'd be willing to lose app ecosystem in return for floss-managed privacy mechanisms. No gps unless I say so, ff browser and privacy extensions, let me manage what data in the address book an app can see, own cloud support.

What we need is easier os swapping on phones. Maybe even a hw hyperviser for near instant swapping. The current lockdown approach stops new entrants from being tested by interested but uncommitted users.

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Re: make the world a better place

Hey P

I liked WebOS too, I still use my AT&T HP Pre3 on occasion(no data services on that SIM) and I have two HP Touchpads in their touchstones acting as picture frames. I have a 3rd Touchpad from the "fire sale" that has never been opened(it's still in the shipping box, I bought 5 from HP during that fire sale, took a long time to get past all the server errors to make the order go through), I don't know why I keep it, I don't have another use for it but I don't want to get rid of it either. Has more value to me than giving it away.

I have another Pre3 too, I think it is the french edition. I gave away a Pre2, a Veer and a UK Pre3 a couple of years ago.

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Unhappy

Shame

OK, I've never seen one, but it's sad that yet another alternative bites the dust.

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Mee-Go/Sailfish still has a life I reckon

I still hold to my belief that Nokia, not having announced their OS although having stated they'll run with Chinese hardware... will re-kindle the Mee-Go/Sailfish thing... or at least take it forward.

Yesterday I shifted from my Jolla, to the Wileyfox Storm (the driving force was the mess tey've made of Sailfish) and even after one day, I'm missing the Sailfish interface of old (before the version 2 fuck up.)

As for Firefucks, they made the same mistake, IMHO, that Shuttleworth did. Trying to make one interface work across multiple devices.

I, personally, believe the following...

*) Motorola with their desktop docking station a few years ago might have stood a chance if the phone was powerful enough back then.

*) Although we now have that power, there are too many devices. Tablets will die, mobiles will get slightly larger and the screens will be able to dual as e-readers while power consumption will improve.

*) Gesture based interfaces will become stronger, and the mouse will be replaced by the touchpad and proximity gesture control (hand movements, rather than needing to touch a physical screen.)

Mine's a pint because I'll probably be drowning my sorrows at a career swapping out broken mice before this happens.

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Re: Mee-Go/Sailfish still has a life I reckon

So what's my reckoning for this?

Well, gesture control has certainly improved experience of some things like Sailfish, and multi-touch gestures that I've used on Apple and Linux, have (when programmed nicely) given me a much improved experience.

I think that proximity gestures, like raising your hand above the keyboard and wafting two fingers left, or right, and some of the things we see in sci-fi films where make-believe air gestures are used to shift things around, are goign to happen.

Perhaps this might be a think of "pinching" and multi-finger scrolling in mid-air as opposed to having to use a touch surface. But I don't think we're that far off being able to do it, without needing to use arm bands or magic proximity rings.

As I also write bad fiction, I thought I'd share an idea for one of my future books that I PM'd to someone a few days ago... "Just had a whacko idea for a next gen door lock. Basically, a video camera. To unlock the door, you make a certain gesture at it... like standing on one leg, with one arm on your hip, another patting the top of your head, pulling cross-eyes and your tongue out. Do you think it would catch on?"

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Re: Mee-Go/Sailfish still has a life I reckon

>the mouse will be replaced by the touchpad and proximity gesture control (hand movements, rather than needing to touch a physical screen.)

Nope, fingers are too fat to be accurate and touchpads have too much friction, are too slow and the clicking action is too hard or too close to the "just touching" position. Touch pads are a nice workaround for not having a flat surface for a mouse, but they are no substitute at a desk.

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Re: Mee-Go/Sailfish still has a life I reckon

I think that proximity gestures, like raising your hand above the keyboard and wafting two fingers left, or right, and some of the things we see in sci-fi films where make-believe air gestures are used to shift things around, are goign to happen.

Only because it's a Hollywood self-fulfilling prophecy feedback loop. As an input method, Gorilla Arm UI is fucking useless.

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Re: Mee-Go/Sailfish still has a life I reckon

I fear we'll end up with the Hitchhiker's Guide gesture-controlled radio scenario, so sensitive that you have to sit absolutely still if you want to keep listening to the same station...

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Anonymous Coward

We don't need no steenking reading comprehension!

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.

Please read the Mozilla statement again, and this time read the whole thing, including the part I highlighted above.

Really, why is the tech media always so keen to declare things absolutely dead, at the first sign of any change in strategy? Google Glass got the same treatment, and you know what? That's still not dead, either.

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Re: We don't need no steenking reading comprehension!

" Google Glass got the same treatment, and you know what? That's still not dead, either."

Unfortunately

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Re: We don't need no steenking reading comprehension!

This isn't a horror novel ending, hinting at a sequel. It's a corporate press release. Ambiguous language is politics. They don't want to drive away ALL their devs/donors/users. But there's no critical mass.

It's dead, Jim. Dead, dead, dead.

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Re: We don't need no steenking reading comprehension!

"It's dead, Jim. Dead, dead, dead."

Well, if you're only referring to phones, then let's say the life support has been removed and the prognosis is not good. However, since Firefox OS is still being promoted as a smart TV operating system, it's not altogether dead yet.

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Re: We don't need no steenking reading comprehension!

" since Firefox OS is still being promoted as a smart TV operating system, it's not altogether dead yet."

the operative word being "yet".........

Its not going to take off as a TV OS until you have a TV with open hardware architecture using off-the-shelf modular components.....effectively an "open" hardware design - but that will look so ugly no-one will buy it

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Re: We don't need no steenking reading comprehension!

It's dead as a dead thing if it can't do catchup TV. OK, Youtube is usable in a browser, but it's a bit lacking otherwise for a smart TV.

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someone must have read this earlier thread and acted on it

http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2015/10/06/ari_jaaksi_joins_mozilla/

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OMG, the date.. that was just 2 months ago. What is this guy, the Chainsaw Al of mobile OSes? Is he still at Mozilla?

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Anonymous Coward

Handset manufacturers also implicated

I have a ZTE Open C as a spare phone to play with.

ZTE never released any new versions of FFOS to flash, so not helping.

There again ZTE never released any Android updates for any of their Android phones I own either.

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Firefox OS on Smart TV is fast

I tested a bunch of smart TVs when shopping and they all had really laggy interfaces, especially the LG sets. Ended up with a Panasonic running Firefox OS and it is smooth and responsive. The built in browser is actually usable for instance. It would be a shame if more TVs didn't get this.

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