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Monday, 24 February 2014 15:43

Firefox announces $25 smartphone

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A Mozilla phone that will ultimately be released for $25 A Mozilla phone that will ultimately be released for $25 CNET

Microsoft may have the emerging markets in its sights but Firefox does too, announcing a new category of $US25 smartphones for developing countries today.

California-based nonprofit Mozilla Foundation's Firefox OS is a small fish in a big pond, including the likes of Android and iOS, and the Linux-based open source operating system even caused one reviewer to say it made him "want to quit phones forever."

But that hasn't stopped the organisation announcing a new category of ultra-low cost smartphones, including the commercial launch of seven new devices using Firefox OS including Chinese handset maker ZTE's smartphones Open C and Open II, as well as a range of Alcatel OneTouch tablets.

"We are also enabling a whole new category of smartphone, priced around $US25 that will bring even more people around the world online," said Mozilla chief operating officer Jay Sullivan.

Sullivan explained the entry-level smartphone would rely on integrated circuits made by Chinese electronics manufacturer Spreadtrum.

"Firefox OS is off to an amazing start. We launched our first smartphones in July, and have since expanded into 15 markets," Sullivan said.

"We are also enabling a whole new category of smartphone, priced around $US25 that will bring even more people around the world online," said Mozilla chief operating officer Jay Sullivan.

Sullivan said over the next few months there'll be 12 new countries added to the list of Firefox OS-enabled countries: Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Germany, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama, all from Telefónica, and Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, and Montenegro, covered by Deutsche Telekom.

And, later in the year, there'll be a "strong focus" on Africa and Asia.

Microsoft too used its Mobile World Congress soapbox to talk up its opportunities in developing countries.

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