After being announced to great fanfare in 2013 as an open alternative to iOS and Android aimed at emerging markets and carriers, Mozilla is close to shifting its priorities for Firefox OS from a low-cost entry-level smartphone platform to a platform that leverages the best qualities of the open web and may also offer future support for the most popular Android apps through a new initiative called “Ignite”, which is meant to draw in more developer support. CNET features a lengthy email describing the change in direction.
“Ignite” involves a further evolution of the Firefox OS platform to improve support for more types of potential users, such as support for service workers and offering related features such as working offline in the same vein as Google’s initiatives with ChromeOS for enterprise; an improved software update protocol, and continued work to expand Firefox OS beyond phones to other Internet-connected devices; along with support for other devices more familiar to people upgrading from feature phones, common in emerging markets.
With Firefox OS not being able to reach customers solely on price, and the developer shelving plans to release its long-touted $25 smartphone, it seems that the foundation is now aiming for the operating system to become more of a general platform. Whether it will work remains to be seen, as international carriers are still selling Firefox OS based phones with varying degrees of success and at different prices.