Mozilla on media stick: We don't make devices

Jun 22, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog

Is there a Firefox OS-powered streaming stick in the wings? Is Mozilla thinking about introducing a Chromecast-like media streaming device, really? If so, how soon until it's ready? Those are questions that kept tech watchers on keen alert over the weekend following a Gigaom story about how a Firefox OS-powered streaming stick could emerge to compete with Chromecast. Gigaom senior writer Janko Roettgers said that "Mozilla has secretly been working with a partner on a Chromecast-like streaming stick that is powered by Firefox OS." The story included a video showing what the device may do. Earlier on Thursday, a photo of the device had shown up on Twitter from Mozilla evangelist Christian Heilmann and the post said, "A fully open TV casting prototype device running #FirefoxOS. Open boot loader and all."

Roettgers said, "I've been tracking this project for some time. I've talked to sources directly involved, and actually was able to get my hands on one of the prototype devices that are currently being shared with a very small circle of developers." Like Chromecast, the owner of such a device could send video from mobile device over to the TV. "Here's the biggest surprise," said Roettgers. "The prototype I had access to not only works like Chromecast, it actually is capable of running some Chromecast apps." However, information on the unannounced stick is missing as to what it may be called, date of launch and how much it may cost. As important, it is not known who would provide the hardware and where it would be sold."What I do know," said Roettgers, "is that it is an ambitious project that aims to combine Mozilla's commitment to openness with a Chromecast-like media streaming device."

That openness could serve as a key point of interest for developers. The , said Roettgers, could, for example, enable developers to add cast capabilities to Windows Phone or Fire apps. "Moreover, developers could also add casting to desktop apps, and may even be able to build their own cast-enabled hardware with little interference from Mozilla. It's also possible that the hardware could be used to run other software, as it will apparently come with an open boot loader."

By Sunday, however, Ina Fried, senior editor, mobile, of Re/code presented a report titled, "Mozilla Says It's Not Working on a Firefox TV Dongle, but a Partner Could Be."

"This is not a Mozilla project," a company representative told Re/code, "and we do not make devices." The rep stated that Firefox OS is an open platform on which any company is able to build without restrictions. Companies "can experiment with different form factors that run Firefox OS."

The statement in the Sunday report would echo Mozilla's general statement that "We create and promote open standards that enable innovation and advance the Web as a platform for all." That statement also notes that "With Firefox OS and Firefox Marketplace, Mozilla is driving a mobile ecosystem built entirely on open Web standards, freeing mobile providers, manufacturers, developers and consumers from the limitations and restrictions imposed by proprietary platforms."

Explore further: Panasonic to help make smart TV Firefox software

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