Firefox OS phones are pretty rare in the wild on this side of the globe, but that might change soon as Mozilla might just be eyeing South and Southeast Asia. India and Indonesia will likely be the first to get the new phones that will cost a mere US$25.
While there are already five Firefox phone models in Europe and Latin America, they were considered too expensive for emerging markets. According to Mozilla, in those markets it's hard to sell smartphones that cost more than US$50 and thus, Mozilla collaborated with Chinese chipmaker Spreadtrum Communications on a low-cost chipset to make ultra-cheap smartphones.
The fox says bargain
Mozilla claims there are around a million smartphones out there running Mozilla's Firefox operating system for mobile phones.
The OS faces tough competition in countries where Nokia already sells feature phones at rock-bottom prices. But if Mozilla can offer non-pricey smartphones, perhaps other companies like Microsoft and Samsung with its own proprietary Tizen should start worrying.
The thing is China is already full of smartphone makers selling decently-specced phones at really low prices. Will the Firefox OS phones be able to offer a better experience or apps compelling enough for users to look away from Android?
Mozilla claims that its OS offers far more openness than Android, with its mission being to "create a difference, not a profit". That'll be a hard sell for manufacturing partners though. While it might appeal to those who miss the heady early 'open' promise of Android, what Mozilla is missing is creating an object of desire. People aren't as excited about an OS as they get over a device and with budget Chinese competitors like Huawai and Xiaomi, Mozilla has quite the challenge ahead of it.