Mozilla Is Set to Deliver $25 Phones, Needs a Robust Mobile App Ecosystem

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 11, 2014

Mozilla has been hastily reorganizing its company strategy around the Firefox OS mobile platform, and there are increasing signs that it needs make its mobile efforts succeed. Recently, browser market share data captured by Adobe showed that Google Chrome has grabbed significant share while Firefox's share has dropped off. That was attributed largely to Chrome's popularity as a mobile browser, and the fact that Mozilla doesn't have an entrenched mobile presence.

Now, Mozilla has solidified plans to offer $25 Firefox OS phones in India and Indonesia later this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Could inexpensive phones aimed at emerging markets spell mobile success for Mozilla?

According to the Journal's report:

"To tap the next billion first-time smartphone users, Mozilla is collaborating with Chinese chip maker Spreadtrum Communications Inc. to unveil a low-cost chipset that enables smartphones to be priced at $25 this year...While Mozilla has relied on carriers to sell Firefox-powered smartphones in emerging markets in last 12 months, the software company plans to expand its partners to include electronics retailers and local handset brands such as Micromax Informatics in India."

Mozilla's concept is that there are many people around the world who have never owned a phone, and the company is aiming Firefox OS at them. Mozilla officials touted $25 phones earlier this year, at Mobile World Congress. 

Firefox OS phones have been selling in Hungary, Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Greece. However, there are many inexpensive phones around the world base on Android, and Android has a much more robust ecosystem of apps available for users than Firefox OS does. That issue was the prompt for a post I wrote last year called "The Success of Firefox OS Will Depend on the Success of Apps For It."

Now, more than ever, Mozilla needs to boost its app ecosystem and get low cost phones selling in the emerging markets that it has targeted with Firefox OS.