Mozilla's mobile operating system, Firefox OS, is increasing its presence at Mobile World Congress this year with a selection of affordable options.
When it comes to mobile operating systems, it's pretty hard to compete with iOS, Android and, to a lesser extent, Windows. Mozilla, however, seems to be taking its Firefox mobile OS in a different direction: the focus seems to be supplying affordable phones to users in emerging markets.
The three phones launched last year will be joined by seven new phones and a tablet in the months ahead, to be sold across the OS's 15 existing global markets (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Serbia, Uruguay and Venezuela) and 10 new ones (Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Macedonia). Australia is not on that list, although it is worth noting that Mozilla has announced a partnership with Telstra.
The catchily named SC6821 is a ground-breaker: a phone coming in at US$25. It's very light on features and, presumably, specs, but it does the job: you can make and receive calls, send text messages and emails, access the web and download apps from the Firefox Marketplace. At that price point, it has the potential to make a lot of lives much easier.
Not to be confused with the Huawei Ascend Y300, the Huawei Y300 is the company's first Firefox OS phone. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it has a four-inch WVGA screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, a dual-core Snapdragon 8225 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of on-board memory, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, a 5-megapixel rear camera and a VGA front camera. Release is planned for sometime in the next few months.
Of Alcatel's four new Firefox OS offerings, the One Touch Fire C is the most affordable, coming in at just €59 unlocked (around AU$90). It sports a 3.5-inch HVGA TFT screen with a low resolution of 320 x 480 pixels and a 0.3-megapixel VGA camera. Inside, it runs on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage with expansion via microSD up to 32GB, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and a 1300mAh battery.
The next tier, coming in at €139 (AU$213) is the One Touch Fire E. It's a little bit bigger, with a 4.5-inch, 540 x 960-pixel LCD screen. The camera is better, too, at five megapixels, and it includes Bluetooth and runs on a more powerful 1700mAh battery. Its processor seems to be similar, though, a dual-core 1.2GHz model, and it sports the same 512MB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage, expandable via microSD.
The €169 (AU$259) Fire S is the top-tier model, and it sports a few improvements on its brethren. Its screen is the same as the Fire E's, but its camera is an 8-megapixel model, and it runs on a more powerful 1.2GHz quad-core processor. It also brings LTE to the table.
The Fire 7 is the first tablet running on Firefox OS, and once again it's aiming for affordability, coming in at €79 (AU$121). It's also appropriately low-end, specs-wise, running on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor with 2GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage (expandable up to 32GB via microSD). Its seven-inch qHD screen has a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels, and it has front and rear VGA cameras. It's due to launch on the market in Q3.
The Open II from ZTE is the second iteration of the Open released in Spain in June last year. The new version runs on 3G with a 1.2GHz dial-core processor, 256MB of RAM and 2GB of ROM. It sports a 3.5-inch, 482 x 320-pixel HVGA display and runs on a 1150mAh battery — not the most flash phone ever, but serviceable. Pricing details have yet to be announced.
The Open C, also announced by ZTE, is slightly better. Overall, its specs are improved: a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, a four-inch WVGA screen with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, and a 3-megapixel camera. Inside, it has 512MB of RAM and 4GB of ROM, and it's powered by a 1400mAh battery. The phone will be released in Venezuela in Q2.