Mozilla is taking charge of their position in the mobile space. They’re working full steam ahead with their efforts that are focused on bringing Firefox OS to a market ready standard, but that’s not all they’re working on. Mozilla is looking at more then just bringing the world a new mobile OS to contend with the likes of Android and Apple. They want to make it easy for people in emerging markets to get online. It’s not an unreasonable task to complete, but how does Mozilla plan on doing this? How could things get any easier than Motorola’s extremely low-cost Moto G? Try Mozilla’s $25 smartphone that they just announced at MWC. This new low-cost device is said to be aimed at people who still might be using feature phones and are ready to take the plunge in getting connected but might not be able to afford it.
This might not sound like huge news, but make no mistake this is pretty big. It’s not Samsung Galaxy S5 big, but then again that’s because it won’t have all the same bells and whistles as Samsung’s new flagship, and it’s aim is not to wow the public with a slew of the latest and greatest features. Furthermore it probably won’t have many bells and whistles at all. The phone serves a main purpose of getting people online. Mozilla aims to help get these new phones into peoples hands with the assistance from carriers, and target these devices at 12 new markets that will be opening up thanks to Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica. Both carriers plan to release the Firefox OS in various regions, including Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Germany, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama from Telefonica, while Deutsche Telekom has plans to release the Firefox OS in Croatia, Czech Republic, Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Word of what might be the lowest priced smartphone ever comes alongside Mozilla’s announcement that they’ll be working with Spreadtrum to make this super low cost handset possible. Here’s the full press release with more info from Mozilla thanks to PR Newswire.
“BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Today at Mobile World Congress, Spreadtrum Communications, Inc., a leading fabless semiconductor company in China with advanced technology in 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards, and Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to keeping the power of the Web in people’s hands, announced that they have teamed up to deliver turnkey Firefox OS reference designs with Spreadtrum’s entry-level smartphone chipsets. 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 and Mozilla have now completed the integration of Firefox OS with several of Spreadtrum’s WCDMA and EDGE smartphone chipsets, including the SC6821, unveiled today by Spreadtrum as the industry’s first chipset for US$25 smartphones. These smartphones are available for demos at Mozilla’s booth (3C30) at Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.
“The combination of Firefox OS with Spreadtrum’s entry-level smartphone platforms has the potential to dramatically extend the reach of smartphones and the Web globally,” said Dr. Li Gong, Mozilla Senior Vice President of Mobile Devices and President of Asia Operations. “Firefox OS delivers a customized, fun and intuitive experience for first-time smartphone buyers and our collaboration with Spreadtrum enables the industry to offer customers an extremely affordable way to get a smartphone and connect with Web apps.”
At Mobile World Congress, Spreadtrum unveiled the SC6821, its new smartphone chipset that redefines the entry level of the global smartphone market. The chipset is designed with a unique low memory configuration and high level of integration that dramatically reduces the total bill of materials required to develop low-end smartphones. With this chipset, handset makers will be able to bring to market smartphones with 3.5″ HVGA touchscreens, integrated WiFi, Bluetooth, FM and camera functions, the advanced phone and browser features of Firefox OS, and access to a rich ecosystem of web and HTML5 applications, at prices similar to much more minimally featured budget feature phones.
Spreadtrum’s turnkey reference design brings together this highly cost-effective chipset platform with the intuitive, easy-to-use experience and Web/HTML5 application ecosystem of Firefox OS. “Turnkey solutions benefit the vast majority of small handset makers by reducing the time and cost involved in bringing new devices to market,” said Stuart Robinson, analyst at Strategy Analytics. “This joint effort between Spreadtrum and Mozilla will help make Firefox OS more readily available to handset makers that focus on the needs of entry level smartphone buyers in emerging markets.”
Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies to deliver the performance, personalization and price users want in a smartphone with a beautiful, intuitive and easy-to-use experience that is unmatched by other phones. Firefox OS has all the things users need from a smartphone as well as the things they want like built-in social integration with Facebook and Twitter, HERE Maps with offline capabilities, much-loved features like the Firefox Web browser, the Firefox Marketplace for apps and more. Firefox OS features a brand new concept for smartphones – an adaptive app search that literally transforms the phone to meet a user’s needs and interests at any moment.
Firefox OS offers Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs that unlock the power of the Web and enable
developers to build fun and rich app experiences that were previously only available to proprietary native apps, which are fragmented by platform and not portable.
Xiaomao Xiao, Spreadtrum’s vice president of software development added, “By integrating Firefox OS support with our smartphone platforms, we are providing our customers with flexibility and choice in how they develop and design their smartphones as well as access to the increasingly rich base of HTML5 applications that are available on this platform. We are pleased to work with Mozilla to expand Firefox OS support to all of our smartphone platforms to provide the benefits of open web technologies to consumers around the world.”
Spreadtrum and Mozilla have completed the integration of Firefox OS with Spreadtrum’s SC6821 and SC7710 WCDMA smartphone chipsets, and expect to complete a turnkey reference design for the SC7715, Spreadtrum’s single-core WCDMA smartphone chipset with integrated connectivity, next month. Spreadtrum and Mozilla’s collaboration will extend across Spreadtrum’s full chipset portfolio.
About Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. Spreadtrum Communications, Inc. is a fabless semiconductor company that develops mobile chipset platforms for smartphones, feature phones and other consumer electronics products, supporting 2G, 3G and 4G wireless communications standards. Spreadtrum’s solutions combine its highly integrated, power-efficient chipsets with customizable software and reference designs in a complete turnkey platform, enabling customers to achieve faster design cycles with a lower development cost. Spreadtrum’s customers include global and China-based manufacturers developing mobile products for consumers in China and emerging markets around the world. Spreadtrum is a privately held company headquartered in Shanghai and an affiliate of Tsinghua Unigroup, Ltd. For more information, visit www.spreadtrum.com.”