Mozilla managed to surprise everybody at this year’s Mobile World Congress when it announced that we are going to see smartphones priced at the $25 tag. And it seems that they weren’t joking about this. Mozilla’s CEO has recently spoken to the Wall Street Journal and he has suggested that the company is looking to release really cheap Firefox OS handsets, which will be manufactured by two Indian companies and would retail at $25 only.
Of course, this is still a report and should be treated with a grain of salt, but what’s sure is that Mozilla is eying India as an emerging market and that we’re going to witness a mass adoption of smartphones if they get launched indeed at this incredible price. Firefox OS is a HTML5 web-based mobile operating system and there are already a few handsets available for purchases in certain countries from Europe and Latin America.
One of the cheapest handsets is the ZTE Open, which currently retails for only $69.99 in the US. While this is quite a cheap smartphone, the next step could bring a revolution to the market of smartphones. Mozilla is currently working with mobile manufactures ZTE and Alcatel and others to bring new Firefox OS smartphones on the market. But the partnership with Indian based low-cost handset makers, Intex and Spice will allow Mozilla to offer Indian consumers a smartphone at an unbeatable price. Intex’s head of mobile business, Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, said the following
The platform will give us an edge in upgrading buyers from feature phones to smartphones while making it affordable for the mass market
According to Mozilla’s Chief Operating Officer Gong Li, smartphones above US$60 and are still too expensive for most consumers in India and other Southeast Asian countries:
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.
Mozilla has relied mainly on carriers to sell Firefox-powered smartphones in emerging markets during the past year, but now it’s looking to expand its partners to include electronics retailers and local handset brands. Mozilla expects Firefox-powered smartphone shipments to exceed 10 million units in the next 12 months, currently running already on more than one million smartphones.