Mozilla, Amazon and Others See Growth Ahead in India
As players in the technology arena look for global regions poised for growth, they are increasingly focused on India. In fact, Mozilla officials have recently noted that India is going to have a big impact on everyone's use of digital technology.
India is one of the markets that Mozilla is targeting with its Firefox OS phones and mobile strategy. Meanwhile, Amazon.com is investing $2 billion of additional funds in India, as the region experiences a mobile shopping and overall online retail boom.
In a recent interview with the Press Trust of India, Mozilla Foundation Executive Director Mark Surman said:
"India is a huge force, not only in terms of people coming online, but also shaping what the digital future can be. As we figure out how do people understand the web, India absolutely has to be at the core of that. One of the things we're so excited about [in] India is that people are so aspirational. They are starting to say, How I can make life better? And the Internet is a promise to that aspiration."
Earlier this week Amazon said that it was setting up five new fulfillment centers in India, doubling its total storage capacity to over half a million square feet (over 46,500 square meters). As Computerworld reports:
"India will be Amazon's fastest country to reach one billion dollars in gross sales if current growth rates continue, Amazon said Wednesday."
Mozilla is translating its belief in India into action. Firefox OS-based 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.
According to DigiTimes, the first Firefox OS phones in India will be inexpensive but powerful:
"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, but India could be a proving ground for Mozilla's mobile strategy. Stay tuned.