Firefox OS: an attempt of Mozilla to open up the smartphone market

Mobile is increasingly the way consumers access the Web. The currently closed App ecosystem for smartphones has concentrated too much in the hands of just two or three companies. That is no good news for consumers, developers, OEMs or mobile operators. The key issue missing is an open Mobile Operating System.

With Firefox OSMozilla aimed that consumers could, for the first time, buy a smartphone based entirely on open web standards. This basically meant that Firefox OS freed consumers and developers from the constraints of existing closed ecosystems by using the Web as the platform for all functionalities and applications. By supporting Firefox OS, Telefónica wanted to drive the adoption of Open Web Standards across the smartphone sector.

Open Web Standards would restore a level-playing-field in the smartphone sector, allowing operators, handset manufacturers or developers to better meet the needs of consumers. The launch of Firefox OS marked a significant milestone for the mobile industry. It opened access to technology to everyone with very affordable smartphone prices. In 2013, Mozilla managed to enter 15 markets alongside four global operators (Telefónica, Deutsche Telekom, Telenor and Telecom Italia) and with handsets from three different manufacturers (Alcatel, LG and ZTE).

However, and due in part to the inability of offering the best user experience, Mozilla announced this month that it has cancelled the distribution of Firefox OS in smartphones.

Telefónica does not give up in its attempt to open up the smartphone market. For this reason, during the last months of 2015, Telefónica and BQ have worked together to bring Cyanogen OS to Europe (see case study on Cyanogen OS).