Mozilla, famous for releasing the Mozilla Firefox browser, among its many other digital services, has recently announced that it will be bringing low cost smartphones to India in the next few months. It also has plans to bring them to Indonesia at the end of the year.
According to its blog post announcement, Mozilla has partnered with Intex and Spice, two of India’s leading mobile device brands, to bring the first Firefox OS devices to India in the next few months. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Mozilla will also bring the low-cost smartphone as cheap as $25 to Indonesia later this year.
“Intex is excited to announce its association with Mozilla which will enable us to develop unparalleled smart devices on the latest Firefox OS platform,” said Mr. Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, Business Head, Mobile, Intex Technologies (India) Ltd. “The platform will give us an edge in upgrading buyers from feature phones to smartphones while making it affordable for the mass market. This will propel our devices to be much more than a way to use the Web, but take the engagement further and develop the Web as a mobile platform.”
New Smartphones on the Rise
Other than Mozilla, several other brands have also been busy launching their own smartphones. Avid readers of Vulcan Post would know that we have covered Xiaomi quite extensively recently, as it aggressively expanded its presence all over Southeast Asia, notably, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Earlier this week, Xiaomi, often called the ‘Apple’ of China, has launched its official website in India, paving the way for its entry into the fiercely competitive Indian smartphone market in the next few weeks.
The Indian smartphone market is witnessing strong competition between local and international players, all vying to grab a share of the multi-billion dollar market.
According to research firm IDC, smartphone sales in the country grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn.
In the first quarter of 2014, about 17.59 million smartphones were shipped into India, compared with 6.14 million in the same period of 2013. That presents a lot of opportunities, and it is no wonder that companies are betting big on India.
Other than Xiaomi and Firefox, Amazon, the world’s leading e commerce site which practically sells everything, has also announced that it doesn’t just sell smartphones anymore — it makes one. Earlier last week, CEO Jeff Bezos has officially unveiled Amazon’s first cellphone, the Fire Phone. It’ll be available July 25th, exclusively on US telco AT&T starting at $199 with a two-year contract.
With the cost of owning a smartphone getting lower and lower, more people will have access to their own smartphones in the near future. Brands such as Mozilla, Xiaomi and Amazon are among those whom are launching their smartphones in order to get more customers into their suite of products.
Why are they focusing on hardwares? Simple: they want to turn smartphones into one of their main distribution channels. As more customers adopt and use these brands specific smartphones, brands can have total control over the customer experience, and easily integrate and promote their own business units and payment infrastructure. They would also have direct control over the customer’s personal data, purchasing behaviours as well as digital behaviours.
Here’s a brief timeline of Mozilla, Xiaomi and Amazon’s smartphone activities:
- February 2014: Xiaomi launches affordable smartphone in Singapore
- May 2014: Xiaomi launches affordable smartphone in Malaysia
- June 2014: Xiaomi to launch in the Philippines
- June 2014: Amazon launches its own smartphone, the Fire Phone.
- Second half of 2014: Mozilla to launch its affordable smartphone in India and Indonesia.
- Second half of 2014: Xiaomi to launch affordable smartphone in India and Indonesia.
As the availability of these cheap smartphones increase, should Apple be worried?