In developing countries, the high-end smartphone market is cornered by the big guys. But today at Mobile World Congress, the nonprofit Mozilla announced a plan to get a different slice of the smartphone pie—with a low-end Firefox OS phone that costs just $25.
Since Mozilla is a nonprofit, its role in the deal will be to set up specifications and provide the operating system. Gizmodo en Español reports that manufacturers will then adopt the platform and sell Firefox OS phones directly to consumers.
According to CNET, Mozilla will partner with a Chinese chip maker called Spreadtrum Communications to bring its Firefox OS to developing markets. “We’re working with them to break through the $50 barrier, which is a hard,” said Mozilla Chief Technology Officer Brendan Eich to the blog. “This is going to be for a set of [sales] channels in Asia that do not involve operators.”
These phones won’t exactly look like the average smartphone—they’ll be smaller, for one thing, and have less power and screen resolution. But that’s the whole point. In countries where $200 or $300 devices just aren’t viable for some consumers, Mozilla is aiming to connect a huge demographic to the data and tools that they need.