Will Firefox OS Make A Dent In Indian Market?

This week Mozilla announced two new partners, Intex and Spice, to launch its ultra cheap smartphones in the country. What’s particularly surprising is that entire western world is going Gaga over it.

There are two strong reasons I believe that this is not going to work.

For starters, while the phone is termed as a smartphone, it requires Internet connectivity all the time to run apps other than the basic services. With your current device,  you can download M-indicator app on your phone and use it when you’re offline.  You wouldn’t be able to do so on the device powered by the Firefox OS. It’s fairly understood that if a person can only afford a $15 smartphone, he wouldn’t be able to afford the rather expensive Internet packs which cost upward of INR 250 for even a basic 1GB 3G data plan.

firefox-phone-intex-india

The second thing that comes to my mind is that for Firefox OS to become a success, it would also need support from solid hardware. Hence, it needs to choose the right partners and I believe Intex and Spice are not the safest choice for Mozilla to partner with. They hardly have any brand value. For a $25 price point, I’m not keeping my hopes high from the hardware.

Andy Boxall of Digital Trends had reviewed ZTE Open, a Firefox OS powered device and to quote him:

If this is what Mozilla sent out to do battle with the mighty green Android, then it’s a suicide mission.

Essentially, Mozilla wants to compete with Android, which is now fairly popular in the Indian smartphone market. There’s no dearth of inexpensive Android handsets by local brands in the market. If local brands wanted to bring Android handsets at that low price, they would. And it wouldn’t be an exceptional experience as it wasn’t on the Firefox OS handset (Read the above review).

Having said that, the smartphone market is now largely consolidated with iOS and Android as the clear winner. The third mobile OS the market needs is coming from Microsoft. For Firefox OS to make a dent in the market, it will need to do more than bringing inexpensive smartphones that nobody would want.

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20 Comments on "Will Firefox OS Make A Dent In Indian Market?"

 

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Rudradeep
June 14, 2014 10:43 am 10:43 AM

FirefoxOS is not actually going against Android. It wants to be an alternative in low cost smartphone domain, where droids are pretty bad. But Spice and Intex are not good options as they are not popular options in India.

FirefoxOs may see some success if Zte brings its ffos phones here with some operators tie up.

I bet on Samsung’s Tizen as next level of Mobile os, as Samsung owns a majority share in handset market. They are using tizen in smartwatches and tizen powered smartphones are coming soon. Affordable tizens with good hardware can make a difference.

Rama
June 14, 2014 12:02 pm 12:02 PM
*See Tizen can make a dent but Samsung needs to act fast infact really fast.If they really need to gain market share they need to concentrate on the low end market of smartphones where people tend to over look stuffs like OS in favour of features and Value for money proportion. *According to latest statistic Tizen has only around 6000 apps developed for the OS a far cry from Android’s 1 million plus apps.One advantage Tizen has is that Android apps can run on Tizen with the help of an emulator or something similar. *But once again the thing is… Read more »
June 17, 2014 9:25 am 9:25 AM

Excellent Analysis Rama. Also, I think that Tizen will not succeed because neither it has developer support nor strong platform supporting services like its own maps, mail, cloud storage, etc. These services can’t stand a chance against GMaps, Gmail, Google Drive, etc.

If Samsung thinks that compatibility to run Android apps is a plus point, it is confused. We all saw what happened to Blackberry. Emulating Android apps won’t cut it. Those apps can never run as fast as native apps.

Samsung is also late to opening up developer tools and options for Tizen based smart watches compared to Android Wear.

debashish
June 14, 2014 4:39 pm 4:39 PM
awesome analysis above.. you just have a superb insight about the whole demographic of smartphone world.. well i feel Android can’t be challenged by any one because of it’s wide approach.. iOS in India is just a brand statement for many.. Firefox can come in handy if they can provide good support of the apps. and the must have apps. such as whatsapp, viber, instagram, Facebook etc. must be available and regular updates should be available.. the OS shouldn’t hang and the handset needs to be apt. as per the OS.. lastly i would hope that the battery must last… Read more »
Abhinaba
June 13, 2014 11:38 pm 11:38 PM

Have you check ZTE open C ? It has a nice hardware combination for only $60!

M Nishi
June 13, 2014 10:35 pm 10:35 PM
First of all – ” it requires Internet connectivity all the time to run apps other than the basic services” is not true. It runs on HTML5 based apps does not imply that it would always require an internet connection. From the day one of launch people have this same accusation, which is not true. It depends on the apps. Another thing is that Mozilla is not trying to fight android. They want to make cheap smartphone phone for those who need it, not just to flaunt it. And Firefox OS does not have much high hardware requirement. It is… Read more »
Rama
June 14, 2014 9:52 am 9:52 AM
*See firefox OS is not the first one trying to make a dent with web apps and low end hardware approach.Remember Palm/Web OS.yeah web OS had been trying to compete with Android since its early days but we know who’s the winner. *Next no matter what native apps can simply cannot compete with web apps in terms of performance. *I can give it to you in writing that within 3 years 3k android phone which deliver a smooth experience will be a reality but within 3 years can you give me a guarantee that within 3 years ffos will be… Read more »
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