Mozilla Working On $25 Smartphone For Emerging Markets

Budget phones are becoming just as important as high-end flagships for many companies now that countries like China and India are opening up to smartphones and other electronics in a more significant way. These budget devices have generally been available throughout the world since they are still relatively costly at $80-100 but Mozilla may change that.

Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser, has partnered with Chinese chip maker Spreadtrum to come out with a $25 smartphone, the complete opposite of $500+ devices like the iPhone.

Unlike many of the other low-end smartphones that have become popular in emerging markets, this phone would be targeted solely at nations with less money to put towards smartphones and devices like them.

These solutions expand the global accessibility of open web smartphones to first-time and entry-level smartphone buyers by reducing the time and cost required for handset makers to bring these devices to market - Spreadtrum

Firefix OS, an alternative to iOS and Android, has also been included on other high-end devices from companies like Alcatel and ZTE, according to Mozilla's announcement from Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014.

Since Spreadtrum's chips are so cheap, including them in phones allows for the rest of the device's cost to go towards the body, screen, memory, etc.

Outside of providing a release date of 2014 for the low-cost SC6821 chip, Mozilla and Spreadtrum representatives did not provide a detailed roll-out plan for any of the $25 smartphones, but it seems likely that we could see the devices as early as late 2014.

Mozilla says that six different companies are interested in selling the device, none of which are present in the United States. This is not surprising since even the budget smartphone market in North America would not necessarily benefit from a $25 phone.

Tonight's exciting for Mozilla with a $25 smartphone based on Spreadtrum chips. With turnkey designs, you'll see a flood of $25 smartphones. It's not enough to have two OS's [Android and iOS] in the world dominating. - Jay Sullivan, CEO, Mozilla

The chips will be based on WCDMA and EDGE networks rather than the faster LTE standard that has become popular in some areas of Asia, North America, and Europe. Since the phone will be targeted at emerging markets, the need for an LTE-capable chip is not present and would simply increase the price unnecessarily.

(Image Credit: digitaltrends)