Mozilla is targeting first time smartphone buyers who haven’t yet upgraded their basic feature phones because of high prices or technology specifications.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Jane Hsu, director of product marketing at Mozilla based in Taiwan, explains how the company was able to bring down the cost of smartphones and discusses Mozilla’s future plans.
Mozilla is set to add a feature to its mobile Firefox OS that will give users the ability to revoke any application’s permissions on a granular basis.
Firefox OS is the open source operating system that Mozilla built for smartphones. The software runs on a variety of devices from manufacturers such as Alcatel, ZTE and LG. The devices mainly are available outside of the United States, although there’s at least one Firefox OS phone sold in the U.S. The operating system is meant to be flexible and includes many of the security and privacy features that Mozilla has built into the Firefox browser over the years, namely support for Do Not Track.
Mozilla has announced that the first smartphone running its Firefox OS mobile operating system is now on sale in India, following earlier reports that a low-cost phone would arrive there in July.
The phone is called Cloud FX and is built by Intex Technologies, an Indian phone maker. It went on sale on the Snapdeal.com website on Monday for 1,999 rupees (Rs.), or approximately $33.
Finally, Firefox smartphone now arrives in India. Though Mozilla’s Firefox OS as a smartphone operating system has had a negligible impact on the market, but all that could change very soon as the first Firefox smartphone has been announced for India. The Spice Fire One has predictable low-end specifications and a greatly attractive price tag of Rs 2,299.
This may sound like analyzing yesterday's news, but I think it's important, and more than that I need to put this here as a resource to point certain people to.
The Mozilla Foundation's aim to create a Firefox OS for mobile devices was not to take a quixotic tilt at the top end of the smartphone market. Instead, it hoped to provide an alternative that would enable the delivery of low-cost, but still smart, devices to places where smartphones are still a significant purchase.
That plan looks to be working in India, where local outfit Spicephone has just announced it will offer the nation's first Firefox-OS-powered phone for Rs 2,299 (US$38, £23).
Mozilla is in the process of adding the ability to “cast” videos from Firefox to Chromecast devices, and you can try it now if you have the right hardware.
As announced in a post on Google+ post by Mozilla developer Lucas Rocha, “Chromecast support is now enabled in Firefox for Android’s Nightly build.”
To check this out, I downloaded the latest Firefox Nightly, installed it on my Nexus 10, and tested it with my Chromecast. It worked… although, it has some rough edges right now.
Google has made quite a splash with its Chromecast dongle, which performs many of the tasks that set-top boxes do, but Chromecast may be headed for some competition. Android Police has reported that Firefox for Android has gained support in nightly builds for Chromecast, and GigaOM reports that Mozilla is continuing to work on a Chromecast competitor possibly called Matchstick.
If you are attending UbuConLA I would strongly encourage you to check out the talks on Firefox OS and Webmaker. In addition to the talks, there will also be a Firefox OS workshop where attendees can go more hands on.
When the organizers of UbuConLA reached out to me several months ago, I knew we really had to have a Mozilla presence at this event so that Ubuntu Users who are already using Firefox as their browser of choice could learn about other initiatives like Firefox OS and Webmaker.
Mozilla has always done interesting conceptual work with the Firefox browser and its other projects, and only some of the concepts actually make it into production. In the spirit of experimenting, a couple of Mozilla developers are playing with concepts for what the future of browsing might be like.
Michael Verdi and Philipp Sackl have posted a presentation and other materials for Lightspeed, and it looks to be a very interesting concept.