Mozilla Shakes up Smartphone Game after Unveiling $25 Prototype


Mozilla has stepped out of the shadow of its own massive success in the internet browsing department by creating Firefox and given the world a groundbreaking smartphone prototype that is slated to cost a measly $25. Mozilla believes the prototype will greatly appeal to developers and give iPhones and Androids a run for their money. The news was released in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress.

Coupled with the prototype is the two-year-old Firefox Operating Software. The phone will be available to people in developing countries, which at the moment is only 15 countries according to Forbes. In this year alone, Mozilla OS is also believed to be expanding into a number of different countries, namely in Central America.

Forbes also noted that the company that stands to take the biggest hit should this new phone become a success is Microsoft. Apple is believed to be unharmed by any possible success from another company like Mozilla shaking up the smartphone game, but Microsoft has made a point to target consumers in the emerging low-end demographics in Latin America.

It is a long shot, but if executed correctly, Mozilla has the ability to corner the market a bit here. Regardless of how much Windows OS has targeted the low-end demographics, a $25 smartphone would be a trump card to anything that competitors in the smartphone industry can currently offer.

Mozilla has the ability to shakeup the smartphone game if they can use their exclusivity to benefit them. This prototype will not be competing with iPhones, as in its current stage it is believed to be a slight upgrade over a general “dumb” phone. It is a smartphone, but the odds are stacked against them to compete against iPhones and Androids in terms of apps and overall functionality. Pitching the product as a regular text/talk device with smartphone capabilities appears to be the direction at the moment, but if Mozilla takes it a step further and can make its software a threat, then watch out.

The phone was described as a true threat, according to Avi Greengart, an analyst with an industry research firm named Current Analysis told VentureBeat. Greengart noted that one thing possibly working against Mozilla would be that, “consumers are likely to consider (the new Firefox OS phones) as feature phones.”

The quality of the apps and their overall performance is going to be a major factor, and whether or not that matters to consumers is something that will determine how many people end up buying this phone. It is a groundbreaking concept that still has a lot of kinks to be worked out.

Regardless of what happens from here, if it is officially put into production, then Mozilla has shaken up the smartphone game with a $25 prototype. Mozilla has a couple things working against them, but there is a demographic to be filled. An affordable phone with generic smartphone capabilities such as low-end app functionality and internet browsing could not only cause Apple and Microsoft higher-ups to curmudgeonly pull their own hair out, but also represent a huge step in pushing generic talk/text phones into obsolescence.

Editorial by Justin Hussong



The Independent


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