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Mozilla Gives Up on Firefox OS for Phones

Mozilla never really was able to find a market for a cheap, Web-based phone.

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With Firefox OS, Mozilla was targeting the market for smartphones that cost less than the cheapest Android devices. Unfortunately, it turned out that such a market didn’t really exist, and today Mozilla shut the effort down.

In the two and a half years since Firefox OS was announced, Android devices that once cost several hundred dollars now sell for less than $100. And even though mobile carriers liked the idea of a credible low-cost alternative to Google’s Android, developers and consumers showed little interest in Firefox OS.

Mozilla’s thinking was to do for phones what Chromebooks did in the PC market. But while more and more desktop computing has moved to the Web, apps remain king on the phone, and Mozilla was always facing a losing battle there given its browser-based approach.

“Firefox OS proved the flexibility of the Web, scaling from low-end smartphones all the way up to HD TVs,” said Ari Jaaksi, Mozilla’s SVP of connected devices, in a statement. “However, we weren’t able to offer the best user experience possible and so we will stop offering Firefox OS smartphones through carrier channels.”

The company still hopes to use the technology behind Firefox OS for various Internet-of-things devices.

“We’ll share more on our work and new experiments across connected devices soon,” Jaaksi said.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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