Mozilla appears to have hit a dead end in its bid to distribute its open source Firefox OS on smartphones, but the Linux-based operating system still has a future on Panasonic smart TVs following the announcement this week of new models running the platform.
Launched in 2012, Firefox OS is an operating system based on Linux for use on smartphones, tablets, TVs and other embedded hardware applications. Although it has never come close to contending with iOS or Android, it saw moderate success in the mobile phone market until December 2015, when Mozilla announced that it would no longer be developing Firefox OS smartphones.
But doubts about the platform's future on other devices were put to rest this week following Panasonic's announcement of a new smart TV, the DX900, that will run Firefox OS.
Panasonic has been using Mozilla's operating system since 2014. The new offering will include features not available in earlier products, however, Mozilla said in a statement about the new release.
But new features aren't the important part of the story. This deal is mainly important because it shows that Mozilla is still finding a way to squeeze revenue out of its operating system. That is an important part of the organization's strategy for funding development of its flagship product, the Firefox Web browser, which costs no money.
The news is also a reminder that Firefox OS remains a contender in the smart device market, which is important as IoT continues to grow.