$25 Firefox OS Smartphone Set To Arrive In India This Year
Yeah, that is right! Mozilla is planning to bring ultra-low cost Firefox OS based smartphones to India this year according to a WSJ report (paid). These low cost smartphones will be specifically launched in emerging markets like India and Indonesia!
$25 translates to around around Rs. 1500, which is less than half as cheaper as the cheapest Android smartphones available in the Indian market. The cheapest Android smartphones are available in India for price starting Rs. 3,000!
It is not that Mozilla is launching cheap Firefox OS based handsets for the first time – they have earlier launched low-budget smartphones in Europe and Latin America with a price tag starting USD 60. Mozilla has collaborated with four handset makers and five cellular networks in those 2 countries to offer five different Firefox OS powered smartphones.
However, a price of USD 60 in country like India is still quite high as Android based phones are available lower than that price. Mozilla Chief Operating Officer Gong Li said, “One U.S. dollar means a lot of things to consumers in emerging countries. It’s difficult to sell smartphones that cost more than US$50 in those markets. With a $25 price tag, there is no price gap between a smartphone and a feature phone. This attractive price point would help motivate feature phone users to switch to smartphones,.
The WSJ article also mentions that Mozilla is collaborating with Chinese chipmaker Spreadtrum Communications Inc. for low cost chipset, which will enable Mozilla to bring the price point of the phone to $25!
Will $25 price point entice Indians?
At Rs. 1500, Mozilla’s Firefox OS based phone will be same or even lower than the cost of many feature phones. It is sure to attract millions of Indians. However, given what Firefox OS offers, it may not fit the radar of Indians who want a complete smartphone experience at cheaper price.
Firefox OS has still not been able to create a good developer ecosystem and their OS still lacks many mobile apps that users demand. So, for such users, even with a low price, the $25 smartphone may not be a good fit.
Another important aspect is that Firefox OS is based on the principle that people are increasingly using the Web for all of their computing needs, and an OS should essentially offer that. However, even for that to happen, it needs an “always-on” web connectivity. With the kind of Indians they are pitching this OS at, that is not possible.
A Firefox OS without an internet connection is nothing more than a glorified feature phone.
Only time will tell as to how well this $25 FF OS smartphone will do in India, let us first wait for it to arrive!
Do share your opinion with us on this!