Matchstick is dead, what can we learn?

This article has been written before more than 1 years, information might old.

Italian version here.

Today news is the death of Matchstick, a dongle from $25 based on Firefox OS.

I bought the Developer Edition and I made a video review in Italian.

After the review I have not used the the Matchstick because I was waiting for simple material for the development and implementation of a DRM because that would be the leap forward for this device. Otherwise I would not have wasted time to discover and develop especially because the future was uncertain.

What could this project do for Mozilla?

The project would bring Firefox OS in the world of television and helped spread the system, given its cost, demonstrating its adaptability to start competing with Android.

In addition, its support Android, iOS and Firefox OS would allow the creation of apps that would help in its distribution.

Also the fact that the apps are based on HTML5 web technologies then are easy to use and very powerful as well as impact, especially in a (television) market where this is very important.

Finally, and probably would bring new developers and would be born new APIs for Firefox OS.

What Mozilla can learn from this project?

The news says that the team has worked to integrate DRM in Firefox OS, but the rest of its technologies?

As Android is independent when used for a television or a portable console also Firefox OS should be, then technologies made by Matchstick must be integrated into Firefox OS.

This would bring to an improvement, with help from the community and a greater diffusion of technologies.
So integrating OpenFlint (protocol recognition for devices for communication between the app on your phone and on the matchstick) and other technologies Firefox OS would have earned another extra boost.

In short not to waste the work to benefit all.

Nowadays Firefox OS is on television?

In 11 months in the meantime, Panasonic has produced and distributed its televisions with Firefox OS (the link contains only a TV but others are in production) that only have a different interface than the Matchstick.

The difference between the matchstick and the Firefox OS on television is that it does not have all the technologies of communication with the phone but for the rest is Firefox OS with no big differences (only a new interface).

At the same time begin to emerge the first technical articles about how to use in Firefox OS a remote demonstrating how simple overcome the lack of smartphone.

Then nothing prohibits developers to design alternative solutions to communicate between smartphones and TVs.

The reaction of buyers

The reaction in the comments of the news as could be expected has been the DRM was not mandatory was indeed a thing more.

This reaction from buyers seems legitimate but in marketing not support them would have limited the market.

I am one to that group of users because I could not wait to communicate my smartphone with the TV with my app.

Considerations

At the moment were not released information (or at least not found) on technical cooperation between Matchstick and Mozilla for Firefox OS to see what they have contributed.

My suggestion would be to integrate DRM in Firefox being a technology already in use and tested of which I talked plenty.

This solution though would have included proprietary software is optional then an optimal solution to the user, is executed in a sandbox and adds the support.

So in terms of timing it would have taken much less time, but as I said there is no technical stuff to be able to explore the question.

Now my Matchstick Developer Edition will rest with my OpenMoko FreeRunner in the Valhalla of the hardware open source technologies that could make a difference, simply put a shelf in plain sight.

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Matchstick is dead, what can we learn?

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