WEB & TECH / AUG. 27, 2014
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How Did Mozilla Create Such a Low-cost Smartphone? Can it Benefit from Changing Buyer Attitudes?

At a time when tech champions like Apple and Samsung are focusing on their premium smartphones, browser maker Mozilla has its eye on the less-expensive smartphone market. Mozilla has just announced its new chipset that will pave the way for smartphones costing as low as $25. In the Mobile World Congress, Mozilla announced its plans to partner with a Shanghai-based semiconductor company – Spreadtrum to design low-cost smartphones, powered by Firefox OS.

The phone will also be equipped with 1.0 GHz processor and a memory slot that is expandable up to 4GB. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are standard while users will be able to monitor their data usage with a special tool from Firefox. The phone also supports many languages including Tamil and Hindi.   

What could be the secret behind the low-cost make?

Spreadtrum is working on EDGE and WCDMA turnkey-based designs that adapt to the new Firefox OS. It is also in the process of launching the industry’s first-of-its-kind chipset – the SC6821, to suit its new range of smartphones. These developments are expected to redefine entry-level smartphones.

The low-cost smartphone is already experiencing high level of expectations with Mozilla revealing its possible global operators. Companies like Telkomsel, Telenor, Indosat and other ecosystem partners like T2Mobile, Polytron and Thundersoft have expressed their interest in partnering in the operation.

The new Firefox OS Flame

Mozilla is set to showcase its Firefox OS Flame, in the Mobile World Congress. Mozilla has also unveiled some of the specifications of its new Firefox OS Flame. On the outlook, the specifications are very impressive. Although some of the known specifications are likely to deviate slightly, they are good enough for a smartphone that is so inexpensive.

According to John Jackson, the Vice President of Mobility Research, IDC, Firefox OS has established itself well in the smartphone market today. He owes this short-time development to the rapid maturation of the smartphone industry and the benefits of the flourishing ecosystem. New tools and products, partners, categories, features and attractive price points have reinforced the brand’s momentum today. IDC says Firefox OS volumes are set to increase by six times in the smartphone segment alone.

Is this a cause of worry for other brands?

Mozilla’s developments in the tablet and smartphone categories are no cause of worry for iOS or Android phones. But it is definitely good enough to make these companies raise an eyebrow. As of now, Mozilla lacks the much-required ecosystem for its Firefox OS. It has a long way to go to compete or come anywhere near the likes of Apple and Android devices.

Having said that, low-cost smartphones are in demand and buyer attitudes are changing. These two factors are positive signs for Firefox’s new brand of phones.

Buyer Attitude

Unlike a few years ago where buyers would put more weightage on brands above money value, today people are more open and are happy to go for new and low-cost models. Why would you spend so much on big brands when you get the same set of features, specifications and capable phones in the new and relatively smaller brands?     

Do you think Firefox’s new smartphone is going to make big impact? Share your views in the comment section below.   

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www.bbc.com
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