Firefox OS Phones Reported Due in India in July, in $50 Range
It looks like India may be the next global market where Mozilla tests demand for ultra-low cost smartphones based on its Firefox OS mobile platform. The phones will be available for prices of up to $50, DigiTimes has reported, quoting company COO and Mozilla Taiwan CEO Gong Li, but Mozilla has also been making noise about delivering $25 phones. Because India remains a hugely fast-growing market for mobile phones and apps, the region could be a proving ground for Mozilla.
Mozilla has been making much noise about the Firefox OS mobile platform, and new $25 phones that it wants to bring to emerging markets. The company already announced its plans to deliver a $25 smartphone by the end of this year, the Wall Street Journal reported recently.
TIME has pronounced the move "a brilliant game-changer," but let's remember that mobile phones are all about the apps, and even Mozilla officials have stopped short of calling Firefox OS phones "smartphones" in the sense that they run the robust apps that iOS and Android phones do.
According to DigiTimes, the first phones in India, due in July, will be more in the range of $50:
"With low-cost chip solutions developed by China-based Spreadtrum Communications and cooperation with smartphone ODMs, Mozilla has succeeded in keeping production cost down to US$25 for models carrying retail prices of up to US$50, Gong indicated."
"There have been 10 hardware makers and more than 20 mobile telecom carriers supporting Firefox OS platform, Gong said. LG Electronics and China-based vendors Alcatel OneTouch, Huawei Device and ZTE have launched Firefox smartphones in 15 countries, Gong indicated."
Mozilla's goal is clearly to create new smartphone owners, and bring apps to people who have never used them.
Higher cost Firefox OS phones have been selling in Hungary, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Greece. They have even sold in limited quantities on eBay in other regions, including the U.S., illustrating that there are interested users around the world.
Meanwhile, Mozilla needs to find success with its Firefox OS strategy, as the Firefox desktop browser has been falling, while Google Chrome's has been rising.