Firefox OS and the unserved billions of the developing world




Even if I never get one, I’m excited that Mozilla has seen the need for a light, yet smart mobile platform that isn’t locked down to hell such as those that come with low end devices already. From my brief stint with pay-as-you go phones, it feels like the less you can spend on the device the more they try to screw you over.

Also since it’s html5 based, wouldn’t that mean building apps on there would make it easier to export them to other platforms?


As a resident in one of those “developing” countries (Hungary) that will be in the first wave of Firefox OS rollout, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on my first smartphone!

Not because I couldn’t afford one before, though. I mostly just dig Mozilla and their mission. Smartphones are fairly common here and I don’t think that high price is the main reason why they aren’t more common, but rather there’s just a huge segment of the population that is technologically backward and/or they (like me) just never saw the need to have one. So I’m not sure how popular Firefox OS will be here, to be honest (though I hope it is).

I wonder if those from Greece, Venezuela, Brazil, and Colombia feel the same or if they think Firefox OS could be a game changer in their countries.


How can we have the conversation about walled gardens without mentioning America Online, everybody’s one portal to email and chat and everything that’s really important, such as Justin Beiber Brittney Spears news? You’re all still enjoying AOL, right?


Yeah, looking back AOL’s service was snicker worthy. But it got a LOT of people online for the first time. On the whole the internet likely grew much quicker and with wider reach than it would have without AOL and other ‘dumbed down’ services.


i am willing to bet this phone does the majority of what my fruit phone does. They would be quite a good option in emergency situations as well.


I can’t state enough how cool this is, and I hope it does well there, and does well enough there to snag attention in less developing places. As much as I like Kit Kat and Google Now, I want one of these.

The fact that Mozilla is doing HTML5 apps on a $25 phone, when running HTML5 apps kills batteries on more powerful smartphones on the more mainstream OSes, speaks volumes. It’s a shame Firefox gets such a bum rap these days.


Oh, I’m not snickering, AOL was my training wheels too. Just making a point about walled gardens. Its true many people enjoy having just five TV channels; but most people today are interested in something else, whatever it is, that’s not on the AOL menu. Or the Facebook menu, or the Time-Warner-Comcast menu.

There’s probably a thousand websites out there about steam engines, frexample. How many do you think a media monopoly would allow? One at most?


Interesting, if they can/do make it lightweight. The firefox browser for Android clocks in at 30+ megs and is a huge resource hog. So maybe they can fix that as well…


Awesome. 419 apps comin’ atcha!


In January, MTN in South Africa started selling an Android phone for less than $50. It should be interesting to what similarly priced low cost Windows and Android devices will be available when the Firefox phone hits the market.

There was an estimate that in three years time, 70% of Chinese households will be able to afford smartphones, I wonder if that was too conservative.


I love the idea of Firefox OS, yet I dislike using Firefox. Why would anybody expect this to be anything more than the less funded but equally ideological equivalent of iOS and Android? Somehow the mission of the W3C got lost. Why don’t they create a browser? That’s what it would really take, but it would unmask the charade.


“ideological equivalent” WTF?

do you care to expand on this?


I guess when the planets investment commitment for a product is so precipitous and was still pretty awesome even three or four generations ago; this kind of technology can appear on the market.
I wonder what the equivalent in google glass will look like when it hits the developing worlds market 6 or 7 generations from now? I’m guessing a lot like the current version.


It’s difficult to see Firefox OS gaining much traction.

Cory incorrectly suggests that Firefox OS’s hardware requirements are drastically lower than the competition. They are not.

Android was designed to run on hardware every bit as feeble as that running Firefox OS. The more recent versions of Android actually improve this situation. Android now runs better, on worse hardware. Much of the reason for Android’s increased efficiency has been to ready the OS for devices low powered devices like smart watches. Despite Google’s rationale, the effort applies equally as well to the cheap, low powered devices being targeted by Firefox OS.

Competition in the marketplace it always good to see, but when an open-source competitor like Android has 81% of the market, over a million apps, and runs very well on identical hardware, Mozilla would seem to have made an impossible task for themselves.


This is untrue - FirefoxOS already runs on devices with 256MB of RAM and has a project targeting 128MB (codenamed “Tarako”), for instance. Android 4.4 (KitKat) can run on devices with at least 512MB.

The Web is already a bigger and more open platform than the iOS or Android SDKs provide - the mobile web definitely has more catching up to do, but that’s already happening without Mozilla needing to drive it.


I know what you mean about Firefox. I’d love to love it, but it’s large, clunky, and crashes often (at least on Android).

Mozilla seem reasonably non-evil, so I wish them luck and hope they get a good market share in the developing markets before Zuckerberg and Co manage to zombify them too.


:smiley: That is a sad comment on life.


Most versions of Android run very well in 256MB of RAM, even 128MB. The existing version of KitKit is not yet optimized for such little RAM, that will change. If it were Google’s goal, they could have a 128MB version of KitKat ready next month. If Firefox OS sees much uptake, expect those plans to be accelerated.

If Mozilla is hell bent on creating a mobile OS, a better plan would be to recreate the closed portions of the Android ecosystem under the Mozilla banner. An open source version of Google Play services and store would be heartily welcomed by most of the Android community, while achieving most of the goals Mozilla has set forth.

In a direct battle against Microsoft, Apple, and Google, an app-less Firefox OS stands very little chance of impacting the battlefield. The BOM difference between an Android device and a Firefox OS device is just too small.


Rock-solid for me on desktop (Windows, Mac and Linux).