How about spending only SGD40 or MYR100 to get a smartphone which isn’t Android, iPhone or Windows?

Faiz A Faiz  |  Singapore
Published 2014-10-15 12:00:25

I am in love with alternative technology. Previously, I introduced the Jolla smartphone at Vulcan Post. However, Jolla might be a little costly for some, especially when you just want to try out a new technology without heavily investing in it. How about spending SGD40 or MYR100 to get a smartphone which isn’t Android, iPhone or Windows? Ready? Then say hello to FireFox Smartphones.

Two Indian companies, namely Intex and Spice, launched FireFox smartphones recently in India. Alcatel is soon joining the bandwagon. The prices?

Also read: CyanogenMod Goes Mainstream In India With Micromax Smartphone

FireFox is presently one of the most loved browsers in the world along with Google Chrome. Well, these phones run on FireFox OS, the operating system from the FireFox browser creator Mozilla. Coming with every goodness of this wonderful browser we love, these phones also have their own marketplace. Although you shouldn’t expect as many apps as you find in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, the number of apps in FireFox marketplace isn’t bad really. My last count gave me this list:

Firefox App Count
Firefox App Count

This gives us a total of 7955 apps. A marketplace with almost 8000 apps is not a bad start.

If you are an Android or iOS user, you will not be missing the popular apps in FireFox. FaceBook, Line Messenger, Whatsapp (via ConnectA2), Soundcloud, Candy Crush, Zombie Apocalypse, Twitter, Youtube, JoliCloud, Emails, Google Search, and Google maps all work natively on FireFox mobiles.

Coming to the specifications, they are not very attractive; however, there are two main reasons behind that.
Firstly, FireFox apps are HTML5-based apps which do not need very high specs.
Secondly, you don’t expect to get iPhone-esque apps for 40 SGD, do you?

Image Credit: DesiDime
Image Credit: DesiDime

Here are the specifications which are almost same for each of those 3 companies.

They all come with 1 GHz processors, 128 MB RAM, almost no internal memory and external support to 4 GB, and with a 3.5 inch HVGA display and 1.3 MP camera. All of these phones are dual SIM, have a battery somewhere between 1200-1500 mAh and they run on FireFox OS 1.3. They also have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPRS but don’t expect 3G connectivity using those. Alcatel is supporting up to 32 GB external and Spice model features a front camera.

My repeated communication over the weeks with Intex, the first among the batch to bring out these phones in Asia, failed to get me any more information about their model. It might interest you that the Intex model looks exactly like the very first iPhone released in 2007, height, width, screen size and what not.

Image Credit: smart mobtech
Image Credit: smart mobtech

Understanding HTML5 is the key to how a modern smartphone can survive with such low specs. I explained HTMl5 in details here. In short, HTML5-based apps don’t stay in your phone, only the interface is loaded in your phone. The original application stays online, in a server. When you open an app, they connect with the server and you use them. That’s why a constant internet connection is needed to get the best from these phones.

While Intex and Spice models are available from SnapDeal exclusively, Alcatel launched in India through Flipkart. If you wish to know more about all the available handset, check out the Mozilla site. Can you buy it outside India? Will you be covered under the warranty? I have no idea as the companies simply didn’t bother to respond.

Like I said about Jolla, if you are bored with the monotony of smartphones, dominated by Android, iPhones and Windows Phones, then give these a try. You don’t stand to lose much anyway. However, I would encourage these alternative technologies so no monopoly can control us, be it Microsoft, Google or Apple.

Also read: [Breaking] Xiaomi Redmi 1S Launching In India On 2nd September!

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