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$25 Smartphones on Firefox OS to Rock MWC

Spreadtrum and Mozilla target first-time smartphone users
2/23/2014 10:00 AM EST
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Kinnar
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Really a great news from Firefox
Kinnar   2/23/2014 12:01:51 PM
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It is indeed a very good initiative taken by Spreadtrum and Mozilla, this will really extend the reach of the present day mobile access pattern to virtually all the users of mobile phones. At present the entry level mobile consumers are not being able to use the benefit of the web bases application access properly. With this mostly all of them will be able to have reach to those applications like whatsapp, facebook, viber, tango etc. Simultaniously it will also provide opportunity for the mobile service providers to earn more on data access.

Kinnar
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Promotion of Firefox OS
Kinnar   2/23/2014 12:09:36 PM
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If Firefox OS can run on 128MB of RAM it is really a very great design, but will it be able to run the android applications on it? The article says Android KitKat based applications are supported on Firefox OS, if it really does that then Mozilla should first launch an emulator that can run on Android old versions supporting the KitKat applications. It will really create an awareness among android users and people will rate the OS.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Promotion of Firefox OS
junko.yoshida   2/23/2014 12:55:17 PM
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@kinnar, my apologies. I meant, "Android Kitkat-level applications"

Kinnar
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Re: Promotion of Firefox OS
Kinnar   2/23/2014 1:59:03 PM
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Yes, I also explored the matter little bit, it is all the way a new architecture, and requires a separate binary to be places in Firefox Market Place. So what one can expect is the firmness on the price point, if the FireFox OS bases phone is to be sold at higher than 25$ then it will be a very tough time for them to sell. As that is the only attracting feature for a new buyer.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Promotion of Firefox OS
junko.yoshida   2/23/2014 12:55:25 PM
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@kinnar, my apologies. I meant, "Android Kitkat-level applications"

_hm
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Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
_hm   2/23/2014 8:17:03 PM
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I may like understand paradox - a person gets very low cost $25 phone. And after that he runs Firefox apps from cloud on 2G/3G network (which is pretty expensive).

How a person will be able to afford costly 2G/3G data network?

 

GSMD
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
GSMD   2/23/2014 8:49:46 PM
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- 2g/3g networks are no longer expensive. 2g data (enough for email/chat) is about usd 2 for 2gbyte. This is because capex costs have come down. lte capex is higher.

- 2g is sub 40 usd for a while now, may reach usd25-30 for a dual band edge, 3g is sub usd100. all nos are usd per subscriber capex figures. lte is north of 200.

- add to that majority of isers are pre paid with no billing costs and opex is lower too.

- call center support is also simpler for prepaid.

- old ericsson analysis, data is not current but reasoning still holds good.

http://www.ericsson.com/ericsson/corpinfo/publications/ericsson_business_review/pdf/209/209_BUSINESS_CASE_mobile_broadband.pdf

junko.yoshida
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
junko.yoshida   2/24/2014 8:25:12 AM
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@GSMD, thanks for chiming in. Yes, these are all good points!

_hm
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
_hm   2/24/2014 5:52:10 PM
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@GSMD: $25 phone is for undeveloped or developing countries. Not few people will get them in North America.

Also, I do have $500 each phone for all my four family members. But I do not subscribe to any data, as that is too expensive. We only use wi-fi hotspot.

Why $25 phone needs data?

 

AZskibum
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
AZskibum   2/24/2014 5:58:02 PM
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Good point. A $25 phone with a 3G data connection is an oxymoron. Even in developing countries, cellular data is far from zero cost.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
junko.yoshida   2/24/2014 7:04:01 PM
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@_hm, because you want to connect to the Internet?

_hm
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
_hm   2/24/2014 7:48:07 PM
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@Junko: With our good income(!?), data is expensive for us. How come those people will afford it?

Or said other way - If person can afford good data plan, why does he look for $25 phone?

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
junko.yoshida   2/24/2014 8:02:18 PM
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@_hm, the cost for data plan widely differs from one country to another, from one operator to another, I believe.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
Sheetal.Pandey   2/25/2014 12:11:37 AM
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Actually data plan are very inexpensive in these countries. There are so many players who provide service so the competition is also strong to get customers. Some of the plan I know of are as low as $2 per month and if you are ready to pay $5 per month rental post paid..you can get unlimited internet access. If you are just checking your emails or browse sites or use occassional GPS its very good. And I would be surprised to know if someone says we dont need internet access on smartphone, times is changing so are people. There are few small shopkeepers I have observed they keep chatting on facebook. Internet is for everyone whether rich or poor and trust me with so many service providers in market in these developing countries, everyone can afford internet. And its good for the society and technology.

Gone are the days when someone should feel why developing countrymen need internet access and how can they afford it. 

GSMD
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
GSMD   2/25/2014 3:59:25 AM
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A phone is no longer a phone. A USD 25 phone is the primary data/internet device for lots of people. The easist way to book a railway ticket or a bus ticket is a phone. Hence data is absoluteley mandatory on a $25 phone.


There seems to be wierd misconecptiosn about use of phones in India nd China. Usage these days is very data centric. Except that the data usage is minimal or in case liek FB, data usage is free on some operators. Also most apps that get used are free. Paid content is pretty much music (can be as low as 1.5 cents per clip), ringtones and other low cost content.

So looking at statistics it might appear that data revenue is low and data usage is miniscule.But that does not reflect the reality of even $25 devices being data centric.

I do not pull these figures out of the hat nor are my observations armchair navel pontification ! My drinking buddies inclued two Telco CEOs and all I hear from  is how Indians pay little for so many services ! Between them they have 300 Mill customers. Margins are wafer thin in India but volumes are huge. So get an ARPU increase of USD .5 to 1 is considered a major feat.

prabhakar_deosthali
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
prabhakar_deosthali   2/25/2014 4:48:18 AM
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As an Indian, I also fully agree with your view that though the Indian customers are using their phones for data services , the revenues earned by Telcos are miniscule.

 

But since many a services in India have now become on-line with mobile support - such as bill payment.  Carrying the railway, bus or movie tickets on mobiles, the data usage is slowly increasing and the Telcos can expect better revenues from their subscribers by usage of more data services.

JimMcGregor
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
JimMcGregor   2/25/2014 9:24:53 AM
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There is no doubt that the business models for the phones and the data will evolve over time and possibly with government support. I think a better way to think about the announcements is that these vendors are targeting lower price points for entry level smartphones for emerging markets where this is likely to be the consumer's first smartphone and only internet device. All too often we think of the billions of smartphones in use in western countries and forget that the majority of future growth will come from emerging markets and consumers that cannot afford the current crop of superphones.

zewde yeraswork
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
zewde yeraswork   2/25/2014 9:46:39 AM
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I agree that the future lies in emerging markets, but there will still be a market within the United States and other more industrialized nations enabling growth and innovation for companies that can then expand the lower-end of their business models abroad in emerging markets.

zewde yeraswork
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
zewde yeraswork   2/25/2014 9:50:49 AM
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This is precisely why I don't see the $25 phone supporting a market for high-speed data and being an option for users of internet on a consistent basis. That market belongs to higher end smartphones.

JimMcGregor
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
JimMcGregor   2/25/2014 12:38:14 PM
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Zewede - $25 my not be the optimal price point, but as others have pointed out, there are different markets, networks, consumers, etc. The $500 smartphone and expensive data plasn are not going to meet the needs of many consumers that are not on the leading edge of technology. In fact, without subsidies, the average price of smartphones in the US would likely drop significantly.

_hm
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
_hm   2/25/2014 6:02:55 PM
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So pleasant surprise news to learn that in China and India data rate is so low! Good for them.

Yes, if you add such low data rates and utilize wi-fi hot spot, low cost phone will be cynosure.

 

Caspy7
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
Caspy7   2/24/2014 10:40:14 AM
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Here is the quote: "FireFox OS has less processing and memory requirements, since the OS and the services live mostly in the cloud."

I have been following the Firefox OS development and this is straight out *wrong*.  

None of the OS is in the cloud.  It is not dependent on an internet connection.  If this guy is a partner with Mozilla, perhaps he should not be giving interviews (as this misinformation hurts them).

SteveSteg
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
SteveSteg   2/24/2014 11:37:22 AM
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The quote is from an industry analyst, not from a Firefox partner.  So, how much value does an analyst have that gets something this basic wrong?

zewde yeraswork
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Re: Paradox - $25 phone and 3G connection!
zewde yeraswork   2/24/2014 12:05:14 PM
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Of course, if the OS was run out of the cloud, that would be a pretty significant innovation and would explain how the phone runs at such a price.

chanj0
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Low Cost Smartphone
chanj0   2/24/2014 1:35:52 AM
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The introduction of low cost smartphones is inevitable. It is time. The challenge of another OS is the limited variety of apps. Windows phone is experiencing the lack of apps and the popularity is limited. How does Mozilla tackle the challenge?

junko.yoshida
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Re: Low Cost Smartphone
junko.yoshida   2/24/2014 8:23:46 AM
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@chanj, I somehow don't think the lack of apps is going to be a problem for  those first time smartphone users who have never had apps on their phones before,

zewde yeraswork
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Re: Low Cost Smartphone
zewde yeraswork   2/24/2014 11:58:44 AM
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The smartphone is going to see a consistent drop in prices and Firefox OS seems like an opportunity to take advantage of the demand on the lower end.

baybal
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Re: Low Cost Smartphone
baybal   2/24/2014 2:36:45 PM
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Mozilla can always leverage their legions of open source zealots

prabhakar_deosthali
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The days of feature phones are numbered!
prabhakar_deosthali   2/24/2014 1:50:11 AM
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It seems Game Over! for the feature phones now. With the smart phones becoming available for such a dirt cheap price who need to stick to those simple phones?

 

With internet availability on mobiles at affordable rates and with reasonably good bandwidths,  and a hoard of cloud based apps , these phones are surely goind to create a storm in the mobile marketplace.

Please Watch out Apple!

junko.yoshida
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Re: The days of feature phones are numbered!
junko.yoshida   2/24/2014 8:21:23 AM
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@prabhakar, I agree. Feature phones without Internet connectivity are history, now.

resistion
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ultimate commoditization
resistion   2/24/2014 2:47:54 AM
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Seriously no one wants a $100 PC now.

y_sasaki
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$25 "Smart" phone
y_sasaki   2/24/2014 2:24:12 PM
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I think this is not cheap alternative of iPhone or Android phone, instead it is feature phone with touch screen. You can make phone call, web access, e-mail, messaging, some extra features (caldner/scheduler, camera, etc), that's all. You won't have fancy voice-recognition AI, you won't have millions of online Apps, but do you really need them?

My primary question is if it can achieve "good enough" quality in $25 price tag. If LCD visibility, touch screen precision / sensitivity, battery life is below minimum expectation, it will never take off. In my opinion there will certainly oppotunity for simple low-cost phone, but $25 retail price tag would be going too far.

Sheetal.Pandey
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Re: $25 "Smart" phone
Sheetal.Pandey   2/24/2014 2:58:02 PM
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just $25 cant believe. What is ther BOM?? How can they afford to keep the price so low. Will it be one of those smartphone that if falls down never comes up. I mean the parts are so fragile.

junko.yoshida
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Re: $25 "Smart" phone
junko.yoshida   2/24/2014 3:25:11 PM
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@y_sasaki, exactly. The competition for $25 smartphones are really low-cost feature phones such as Nokia 105. (That phone offers no Internet connection; no touch screen.) 

As Spreadtrum noted, the $25 smartphone does offer touchscreens but it is just a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen. 

But as you say, the battery life and other usability issues need to be taken care of correctly. We shall see how they will pull that off.

JeffL_2
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Re: $25 "Smart" phone
JeffL_2   2/24/2014 4:16:06 PM
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Guess I shouldn't be putting questions in here that I don't have an answer for, but I suppose this really won't quite "substitute" for a smartphone since I doubt you could really watch video very well on it, I mean how much GPU can you afford in the BOM for a $25 device? Without enough processing power you'd use even MORE BW if you had to almost "stream pixels". But I don't really know how much low-end GPUs sell for in huge quantites, maybe someone else on here knows. (Or maybe you HAVE to be able to support video in order to run the ads you need to monetize the sale of the device?) Definitely some issues that need to be looked at anyway, don't think this article answered all the relevant questions yet.

Dr. Slump
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It's strange to specify phone price by chip vendors
Dr. Slump   2/25/2014 1:04:42 AM
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Once any company produce firefox phones and want to sell at some profit (retails price > $25), they will very likely face the question from consumers "They (spreadtrum) said it is $25!!".

Defining the end-product retail price by chip vendors is, IMO, pissing off customers (phone makers). It is very strange because if you don't want your customers making money, why customers will use your chips?

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