Announces partnership with low cost chipset manufacturer Spreadtrum to redefine entry level smartphones
Today at Mobile World Congress, Mozilla announced its partnership with the low cost chipset vendor Spreadtrum, paving the way for smartphones running the web-based Firefox OS to be sold for $25.
Spreadtrum has announced WCDMA and EDGE turnkey reference designs for Firefox OS as well as the industry's first chipset for $25 smartphones, the SC6821, which slashes the entry level cost for smartphones in key growth markets.
Already global operators such as Telenor, Telkomsel and Indosat, and ecosystem partners such as Polytron, T2Mobile and Thundersoft, have expressed interest in the new products.
Nick Dillon, senior analyst at research firm, Ovum, commented: 'With this deal the company is aiming to harness the momentum it has had since the launch of its first commercial devices in July 2013 to push down into even lower price points. The companies plan to leverage Firefox OS's lightweight footprint and Spreadtrum's expertise in designing low cost chipsets to build a reference design for $25 handsets. This is a price point currently out of the reach of Google and even the lowest cost Android handset vendors. It pushes Firefox OS into feature phone territory, potentially signalling the beginning of the end for the category.'
Stated IDC's John Jackson, vice president of mobility research: 'In six short months, Firefox OS has more than established itself in the very markets it aimed to address. Today's announcements underscore the platform's rapid maturation and growing ecosystem benefits. New products, tools, categories, partners, features, and extraordinarily compelling price points will reinforce Firefox OS's momentum into 2014. IDC expects year on year Firefox OS volumes will grow by a factor of six times in the smartphone category alone.'
In the year since MWC 2013, Firefox OS devices have gone on sale in 15 markets with four global operators and handsets from three manufacturers. Firefox OS will be expanding into important new markets in 2014.
Dillon added that the Firefox OS has come a long way in its first year: 'Ovum was somewhat sceptical of the chances for Firefox OS at the start of 2013, but it is hard not to be impressed by the progress it has made over the last 12 months. It has gone from having prototype software and no commercial hardware or solid commitments from mobile operators, to having three devices available across 14 countries and seven mobile operators.
'Although the company is yet to announce any sales figures, it has revealed that there have been 425,000 unique visitors to the Firefox OS Marketplace since July 2013,' continued Dillon. 'This demonstrates at least a promising level of interest from consumers, and certainly more than the other alternative operating systems can currently claim.'
Operator support for Firefox OS also continues to expand, as Telkomsel and Indosat have joined the list of 21 key operators across the globe that support the open Web device initiative. That list also includes partners announced last year: América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefonica, Telenor, Telstra, TMN and VimpelCom.