Firefox OS Phones Spread Out in Latin America
Marking yet another milestone for Mozilla's Firefox OS mobile phone platform, devices based on it have arrived in Venezuela and Colombia, and Mozilla has just announced hat Firefox OS phones will arrive in Brazil in the fourth quarter of this year. When we covered Mozilla's mobile plans back in April, the company was targeting five countries to deliver the phones in: Venezuela, Poland, Brazil, Portugal and Spain. It's quickly becoming clear, though, that these phones will show up in many more markets.
Mozilla was clear early on that its Firefox OS phones would be targeted at emerging markets, but the company has been adamant the low-priced phones would also be focused on innovation. So far, the focus seems to be on delivering very low cost phones in emerging markets.
Telefonica, a huge carrier in Latin America, has two Firefox phones selling in Colombia and Venezuela: the Alcatel OneTouch Fire and the ZTE Open. According to ZDNet:
"In Colombia, the devices cost COP 199,900 ($102) on prepay or COP 99,900 ($53) on a 12 month contract at COP 39,900 ($21) per month. In Venezuela, the Fire is priced at VEF Bs 1,739 and the ZTE Open Bs 1,159."
Both the monthly costs and the costs for phones in these regions are reasonable. It's also worth noting that ZTE has a large presence in Asia, and that is another market where Firefox OS phones may achieve success.
At the All Things D conference earlier this year, former Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs discussed the strategy for these phones, as quoted here:
"In Silicon Valley we tend to see the world through high-end devices. But that’s not true in the rest of the world. So in the short term, we’re launching in emerging markets where Firefox is particularly strong. … It didn’t make sense for us to launch a version-one device around the world."
If your early forecast for Firefox OS phones was that they would compete with the iPhone and Android phones, think again. Mozilla is aligning its whole company around its mobile strategy, and the low end represents the low hanging fruit that the company is going for first.