Some time this year one of the devices we reviewed was the Orange Klif, the first Firefox OS smartphone to be launched in the Kenyan market. While we loved it for its price, there was nothing going for it beyond that. We said it was the phone for everyone else but you. It was a dud, mostly, when it came to functionality. That was mainly due to the failings of the operating system powering it, Firefox OS. A web-based platform with only web-based applications and no native apps, what we experienced on the Orange Klif was, among other factors, what would eventually lead to Firefox OS’ slow death leading to today’s announcement that its maintainer, Mozilla, was folding the program on smartphones.
Firefox OS, mainly targeted emerging smartphone markets in developing countries where cost was critical and a big inhibitor to adopting smartphones. Firefox OS-powered smartphones were meant to be very affordable and provide a simple experience powerd by the Mozilla’s popular web browser, Firefox. That was not to be as Firefox phones failed to pick up in markets where they were introduced. From a user’s point of view, they could not effectively compete with their more capable Android rivals and this hurt sales and adoption, something openly acknowledged by Mozilla.
While Mozilla is shuttering Firefox OS-powered smartphones, the platform itself is not going anywhere. Firefox OS is expected to continue powering televisions and other connected devices including those that make up the Internet of Things (IoT). Mozilla will announce in due course its plans for Firefox OS going forward.
This announcement comes months after Geeksphone, the Spanish company that made Firefox OS smartphones in Europe, announced that it was closing shop citing market turbulence.
Mozilla has been on a streamlining spree lately making changes that include shedding off parts of its business like Thunderbird, its email client.