You can’t fault Mozilla for trying, but the company’s attempt to create a $25 smartphone running on its homemade Firefox OS has more or less been scrapped. Instead, the company has decided to put more focus on improving the Firefox OS experience and, through the Ignite Initiative that we reported on yesterday, potentially bring Android apps over to the platform. How those apps will work is unknown, but we do know that tapping into Android’s wealth of apps could be the key to Firefox OS’s success.
Mozilla is learning that making smartphones dirt cheap doesn’t guarantee success when you’re running up against Google’s Android operating system. CNET reports that in an email to employees sent out on Thursday, CEO Chris Beard made it clear that the company will soon be changing its mobile strategy. “We have not seen sufficient traction for a $25 phone,” Beard wrote. He went on to say, “We will focus on efforts that provide a better user experience, rather than focusing on cost alone.” That’s not to say that Mozilla will exclusively be targeting the high-end iPhone and Android flagship market. The company seems determined to produce enticing options across a broad range of prices, and more Mozilla employees will likely be asked to help gauge just how Firefox OS phones stack up against an endless sea of Android competition. “While we won’t be able to live and breathe on each and every target device for our core product and technology, we can on phones that are powerful enough for each of us to make our primary phone,” Beard wrote. His email even mentions that Mozilla will continue to explore developing feature phones — presumably employees won’t be forced to carry those around.