My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Mozilla's @Firefox OS and the Ignite Initiative - Three Chinese Dragons Dominate the Smartphone World

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mozilla's @Firefox OS and the Ignite Initiative - Three Chinese Dragons Dominate the Smartphone World

Mozilla is changing tactic yet again, specifically as it relates to their smartphones.

Realizing that their strategy of launching low-cost smartphones isn't working, they've decided to go after the high-end market in a strategy called the Ignite Initiative as reported in the article “Mozilla overhauls Firefox smartphone plan to focus on quality, not cost”, published May 22, 2015 by Stephen Shankland, CNET News

In a letter to his staff weeks ago which was then shared with Mozilla Developers, Mozilla Foundation CEO Chris Beard outlined the planned shift in the company towards a strategy based on the quality and strength of their Firefox OS.

This as opposed to appealing to the low-end market in Developing World Countries like Africa as reported in the article “Firefox OS comes to Africa with Orange's $40 package deal”, published March 1, 2015 by Stephen Shankland, CNET News.

Albeit no specifics have been given as to how the Ignite Initiative intends to achieve these lofty goals, the internal email shared with Developers does reveals the basic concepts that the Mozilla Corporation plans on using to market Firefox OS:

1.      Support for Service Workers
2.      Offline work capability for Web Apps
3.      Improvements in Update Delivery, from OTA (Over the Air) to APK (Application Package) delivery mechanisms
4.      Marketing and expanding the usage of Firefox OS beyond smartphones to other Devices
5.      Developing IoT Applications to power the next generation of Internet Connected Smart Home Devices
6.      Support for Flip phones and other smartphones familiar to persons transitioning from low-end phones.
7.      Support for Google Android Apps without the need to recompile Apps written in Java

These attributes of the HTML5 based Firefox OS are already well known to Developers for the platform and make it easy to code Web Apps for Firefox OS. Any Web App written for Firefox Browser can run in the Firefox OS, being as it’s really a Browser turned into a Smartphone OS. 

This is much the same way Google Chrome OS was a Browser that is slowly becoming a OS popular with K-12 High Schools as explained in my blog article entitled “@Google launches Google Chromebit, Haier and Hisense Chromebook and @Asus Chromebook Flip - @Microsoft Productivity vs @GoogleChrome OS low Price”.

So how does the Mozilla Foundation hope to market these ideas to bring across quality over price under their new Ignite Initiative?

Firefox OS struggles since MWC 2013 - Smartphones not selling but Panasonic porting them to HDTV's

Since launch at MWC (Mobile World Conference) 2013 as reported in my blog article entitled “MWC 2013 reveals Firefox OS & Tizen OS launching Second & Third Quarter 2013 respectively - Samsung's Despicable Me 2 & Mozilla practices The ABC's of Death”, Firefox OS has not fared very well.

Mozilla Foundation had launched two (2) smartphones for Developers to play with in Spain with the help of Geeksphone, an OEM (Original Equiptment Manufacture based in Barcelona Spain as reported in the article “Firefox OS phone launches Tuesday in Spain at $3 a month”, published July 1, 2013 by Stephen Shankland, CNET News.

Their Smartphone named the low-end Keon and the high-end Peak as reported in my blog article entitled “Samsung's Tizen OS, Mozilla Foundation's Firefox OS and Canonical's Ubuntu OS to launch by Fourth Quarter of 2013 - David Guetta's Titanium Pacific RIM Robots to Battle Google Android”, were not an overnight success as everyone had hoped.

They soon followed up their initial smartphones launch in 2013 with an improved set of US$25 smartphones in 2014 as reported in the article “With Firefox OS, Mozilla begins the $25 smartphone push”, published February 23, 2014 by Stephen Shankland, CNET News.

They’d also launched some US$40 smartphones for the Developing World Market in Africa as reported in the article “Firefox OS comes to Africa with Orange's $40 package deal”, published March 1, 2015 by Stephen Shankland, CNET News.

Firefox OS has also been used not only in fairly high-end smartphones but also in HDTV's as well. The Mozilla Foundation has already had some success with porting Firefox OS to Panasonic’s Television sets. 

That was thanks to a deal signed with Panasonic at CES 2014 involving Firefox OS being used in their HDTV's and other appliances as noted in my blog article entitled “Panasonic and Mozilla Foundation form Partnership to bring Firefox OS to Smart TV's - Big boost for Open Web and HTML 5 Platforms making Firefox OS a possible Google Chrome OS Competitor”.

Hopefully, like Canonical's Ubuntu OS as noted in my blog article entitled “US$169.90 BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition - How Ubuntu will unseat Google Android with Pure Open Source, HTML5 Goodness”, they'll win support from the Developers and come out with a compelling smartphone design to lift their OS to the super-stardom level that it deserves.

Firefox OS, Feature phones and Wearables - Riding the Hipster Trend while going after Wearables

Their latest push to get Firefox OS into Flip-phones and other smartphone form-factors is really an attempt to ride the wave of nostalgia sweeping Hollywood in this post-Fappening era, where many had their nude pictures exposed as explained in my blog article entitled “Celebrities Return of the Flip Phones - Flip-Force Awakening Thanks to Fappening  Herald Smaller Smartphones and Smartwatch phones”.

This trend is getting little press by the Media, sensitive about the Telecom Providers desire to sell more smartphones.

But like all hipster-esque trends centered around their sudden obsession with things from the 70's, 80's and 90's such as CD's, Cornflakes, Analog photography and even Vinyl records as reported in my blog article entitled “Statista projecting Vinyl Records to breach 7 million Sold – Vinyl Record Pressing Renaissance by Hipsters for owning all things Luddite” , this trend is growing strong. 

With some clever marketing, Firefox OS can ride this trend, using their OS to not only revive older feature phones but also bring smartphone functionality to these smartphones. This will draw the interest of App Developers for Firefox OS, who are desperately needed to fill Firefox’s almost threadbare App Store as noted in the article “Mozilla: We don't give a damn about cheap smartphones”, published 27 May 2015 by Simon Rockman, The UK Register.

By building quality smartphones as well as going after a Nostalgia driven market, they can build interest in Firefox OS and thus a large enough customer base to draw the interest of the Ronin Developers to create Web apps for Firefox OS.

Then there is the wearable market, particularly fitness Trackers and smartwatches.

Google has already made Google Android Wear for smartwatches which they recently updated in May 2015 as reported in my Geezam blog article entitled “Google updates Android Wear before the Apple Watch Deliveries on April 24th 2015” 

Some OEM have already begun making smartwatches based on their OS since 2014 but with little success against the Apple Watch. OEM such as LG and Motorola have only collectively sold some 720,000 Google Android Wear smartwatches for all of 2014.

Apple, on the other hand, is estimated to have sold some 1 million Apple Watch since Apple Watch Appointment on Friday April 10th 2015 as analyzed in my blog article entitled “Apple Watch pre-orders sold out until June 2015 - How 1 million served equals Pebble Watch 2 years Sales in How to sell a Wearable”. 

So getting Developers of Wearables interested in using Firefox OS for smartwatces should not be too hard, especially as it can be paired with any Google Android smartphone or even their own Firefox OS Smartphones.

Firefox OS and the Ignite Initiative - Three Dragons from China will dominate the Smartphone World

It's hard for a company that doesn’t make its own hardware and introducing a new OS to compete against the advertising and marketing muscle of Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo.

These Big three (3) Dragons from China according to the analysis of TrendForce are set to take over Latin America by 2016 as predicted in my blog article entitled “TrendForce's Chinese Smartphone Invasion - How Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi will achieve 50% Global Marketshare by 2016 in Latin American and India”. 

In the process, these Three (3) Chinese Dragons will achieve 50% of global shipments by 2016.

This is the competitive nature of the Global smartphone shipping market that the Mozilla Foundation has to contend with; gigantic Chinese smartphone makers with access to cheap labour and massive International reach.

So this latest strategy, dubbed the Ignite Initiative, is geared at igniting interest in using this versatile OS by showing just how versatile a smartphone based on a Firefox Browser, fully-compatible with HTML5 and full LIMO (Linux Mobile) Foundation Open Source can be.

Here’s the link:


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