Thank you for the Firefox OS. It’s great news for India, and other emerging markets. Read on, and I will explain you how Mozilla stuff open web technology into phones, to give birth to the 25 USD Smart phone. Meet the Firefox OS.
Written by: Trond Skundberg (C) 2014
The non-profit organization Mozilla launched the first version of Firefox OS 12 months ago.
You might already use the Firefox browser. A little simplified, what Mozilla has done now, is to use open source web technology as the operating system in smart phones. So, when you open an app on a device powered by Firefox OS, you actually open a website, a web-app. The URL bar and navigation is hidden to give the full-screen-app feel. Simple as that actually. The web technology for sure also work in offline mode with cached data – as any native app. With this, Mozilla remove the line between the web and mobile apps.
Cheap devices + open source OS + reasonable internet data packages = possible entry to a smart phone and internet access for hundreds of millions in India.
It’s not for everyone to buy high-end phones as iPhone 5s, LG G2 or Samsung Galaxy S4. Hence, a cheap entry-device will have a great impact on an almost un-imaginable number of people in India. And, a fully functioning Smartphone priced at 25 USD isn’t a crazy future dream. I believe such phones will be available to purchase in India this year.
It’s already cheap
I checked a little around today for the cheapest Smartphone already available in India. The rock bottom priced device I could find was a never-heard-the-name-of-it-before phone with a 3-year-old Android Gingerbread OS inside. It could be mine for 50 USD, but I was able to control myself.
Also read my article: “Mobile internet first, toilets next”
Adaptive app search with Firefox OS smartphones
Mozilla is changing the way we search for info on our phones. Pretty much the whole user interface changes and give you access to available apps based on keywords entered. You can use an app once or you can save it to your home-screen. The phone adapts to your needs and give you what you ask for – and even surprises you with more.
The smart phones
Currently there are 3 devices on sale. The Alcatel One Touch Fire (they are also planning a tablet), the LG Fireweb and the ZTE Open. Unfortunately, none of them available in India yet – but I don’t expect to wait for long.
Revolution for app development
Connecting with phone functionality made simple
Connecting with the hardware of the smart phone is also easy. Either trough available API’s, or even simpler, connecting trough other apps the user already have installed. Eg. to fetch a photo or check the user map location.
Pretty much as Apples App store, and Google Play – apps for everything thinkable and un-thinkable, can be downloaded from the Firefox marketplace. Free or paid. For fun or for work. The marketplace does not have exclusivity as certain others, so everyone is free to distribute apps as they prefer in the marketplace or outside it.