Slow Progress is Killing Firefox OS’s Small Opportunity

About a year ago, I discussed (mostly in Japanese) the possibility that Firefox could succeed if they successfully targeted the opening in the Smartphone market at the low-end.

At that time, Android did not have a solution for low-end smartphones. As a results, vendors were not using the latest OS but using Android 2.3 in the products instead. I stated that if Firefox OS worked smoothly on low-spec devices, it might be able to successfully enter the market.

That hasn’t been what has happened.

Just yesterday, Mozilla announce they are accepting preorders for Firefox Flame, a mid-tier reference Firefox OS device. It has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and a 4.5-inch screen. This is not a low-end device. In this market tier, it will be extremely difficult to compete with Androids.

I am pretty disappointed with the progress that Firefox OS has made. In a year, instead of focusing on the low-end, they seem to have moved up-market. Maybe Firefox OS didn’t work well on low-end devices. If so, then it would be an engineering problem.

The way I see it, Firefox OS has lost the ability to compete in the market where it could have been relevant. As Moore’s law progresses, the low-end smartphone market will be filled with higher spec phones which can run the latest version of Android. This will effectively close the small opening that existed temporarily.