Mozilla's $25 Firefox smartphone: a free/open device for billions of new netizens


Aren’t there already internet capable touch screen phones that are in this price range?

There’s this one running Gingerbread which you can have sent to your door for $35.74 and I bought a temp phone (Samsung Galaxy Mini) the other day in Sydney for $39 pre-paid.

Will these be available in the US market? Because I like my iPhone and all, but I’d prefer a phone I’m not afraid to drop, being a clumsy caveman and all,


The coolest thing about Firefox is they’re about user privacy first & foremost. And really, a large number of apps are not better (often worse) than using a phone’s browser to go to a webpage (yea, talking smack to you Facebook App).

I’d love it if they made a phone powerful enough to run Firefox w/ all of my favorite plugins purring away.

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I have a basic Android dual-sim phone that was in 30-40 $US range (I think that it is gingerbread as well).

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How about for North Americans buy one for yourself and a second one goes to a developing nations person.


I’m not entirely sure you’re right with that assumption. There are some things FF does that expose user privacy. They are open source (which is good since we can vet the code to ensure there aren’t any hidden tricks) but it performs some functions that don’t protect privacy. One I’ve personally noticed is that in “Private browsing mode” the add-ons are still functional, meaning that the add-on developer may be privy to your browsing activity.


$25 for a small, internet-accessible device, with a camera? I’m sold. I really couldn’t care less about using it a phone or not.

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What does the monthly service cost? That’s the long term killer and the treason I still carry a ten year old Motorola Razor flip phone (My monthly cost is $20 from a major carrier, it doesn’t do the Internet, at least not in any way you want to experienced but it make phone calls just fine).

The $60/$80 or more per month for data access has kept me out of the modern phones. What does it cost in these third world areas where such a phone is intended?

That should be the price without any service. Everything else would be pretty pathetic by current standards. With a GSM phone it is easy to change the service. While good data service tends to be expensive, smartphones remain useful with very modest data packages.

For example I have an Android phone with a pay-as-you-go card and a meager monthly data volume of 150MB at high speed. Everything after that is limited to 64 Kb/s. However that’s enough for Mail, light web browsing, Maps etc. Of course everything bandwidth-hungry has to wait until I can use wifi. That costs me EUR 3.99 (~ $5.50) a month not including any phone minutes. The price per MB would be considerably better for bigger packages.

Aye, that’s the rub. Data on the cellular network can run up the tab quickly, especially with a phone that does everything over the web.

You can buy a older Gingerbread Android phone for under $50 with some careful shopping. Don’t register it with Google, for the sake of privacy.

Stuff in a prepaid SIM. Lycamobile is 2 cents per minute, 5 cents per megabyte, and your prepaid time never expires as long as you use the phone at least once every 90 days. I’m sure there are others with similar rates, or ones that work better for you.

Make sure you turn off data when you’re not using it, because Android always likes to phone home (even when unregistered) and will run up your bill if allowed to.

If you install all local apps (calendar, maps, and so on) rather than using Google’s online services, you not only get better privacy, you also get much lower data costs. You have to hunt these apps down - with an unregistered phone, you’re side loading everything - but you’d be surprised how much is out there that’s FOSS, private, and quite good.

I’m glad to see this phone as an option. However, I don’t think it offers that much value at the low end, and I’m not at all sure it gives you the same privacy you have with an unregistered Android phone. I could be wrong.

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This giddy write-up reminds me quite a bit of the predictions around OLPC…


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