Mozilla on July 2 announced that its moving full steam ahead into the mobile market with a new smartphone operating system called, Firefox OS. The platform is designed to be Web-based, and will, Mozilla hopes, carve out a niche in the lower end of the market where Googles Android and Apples iOS have so far not been so successful. By doing so, Mozilla thinks that its open-source platform could be a game-changer.
But the fact is, Firefox OS is not a game-changer in the least. The operating system has some interesting concepts, but its entering a market that it cant possibly be successful in. With smartphones on the way that wont impress anyone, how can the operating system really do something so special? Its not always smart to bet against Mozilla and its high quality products, but in this case, dont put your money on Mozilla.
1. Theres already Android
Developing an open-source operating system is by no means special any longer. Android is already dominating that space and has given no indication that theres a possibility for another platform to succeed it. Until Mozilla can prove that its operating system is a fine replacement for Android, theres no way Firefox OS can succeed.
2. Its gunning for the lower end of the market
Theres nothing wrong with going for the lower end of the market with Firefox OS, but its important to keep in mind that thats not necessarily a very profitable space. Moreover, Android continues to make inroads into there, thanks to the low-cost (and sometimes, free) smartphones running on the platform that mobile phone carriers offer customers to get them to sign service contracts. The low end of the market wont be so nice to Mozilla.
3. Firefox browser as the OS core wont work
A key component in Firefox OS is its heavy reliance upon the Firefox browser. Mozilla believes that by making the browser the core of the operating system, it can deliver a more Web-friendly experience and create a scenario in which customers dont want traditional software. Its a neat concept, but even the Firefox browser isnt so popular that it makes all that much sense for customers.
4. Is the Firefox OS too techy for consumers?
After Android launched, the term open source became very recognizable to todays consumers. They understood what the term meant and they now embrace it. However, open source in and of itself is an easier concept to understand than what Mozilla is putting forth. Yes, the operating system is open source, but its based on the browser and is reliant upon HTML5. Mozillas greatest challenge might just be educating the public on what that all means for them.