Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom launching 12 combined new markets in the first half of 2014

Mobile World Congress

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today we've been spending a little time with the folks from Mozilla, getting an update on the performance and future of Firefox OS. During the presentation, Mozilla COO Jay Sullivan, announced a partnership with Spreadtrum which will provide chipsets for $25 Firefox OS smartphones. You read that right. Just $25.

Sure, such devices may not meet the requirements many of us look for in a smartphone, but Mozilla isn't targetting us. This new bar in the entry-level smartphone space Mozilla says is to help people get online, to ditch their feature phones once and for all.

Additional news on the future of the fledgling platform sees 12 new markets coming online in the first half of 2014. Telefonica will be launching Firefox OS in Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Germany, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Panama, while Deutsche Telekom will take it to Croatia, the Czech Republic, Macedonia, and Montenegro.

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.

 
There are 27 comments

A895 says:

This is the future. I look forward to a high end Firefox OS smartphone available in the states. Then we can properly judge how good the OS actually is.

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rudyy50 says:

Yes!

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MERCDROID says:

Agreed!

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Halen16 says:

FO apple.... Times are changing

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tmiller679 says:

Da fuq..

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MERCDROID says:

Yeah, that came out of left field, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

ronnypoo says:

Jesus and I thought noyhing couldn't be cheaper than a moto g

usually from a packed subway car

gamefreak715 says:

Is that your Hispanic friend or do you just presume to know what Jesus Christ thinks?

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THIS I'm interested in.

the big print giveth, the small print taketh

patfactorx says:

This is pretty exciting. New opportunities for developers.

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MERCDROID says:

This is simply amazing. These may not be high-end devices (as they're not meant to be), but, for 25 dollars, you're getting a lot for your money.

I really look forward to Firefox OS becoming successful with a strategy like this.

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drokssilva says:

Yeah. I think they might be able overtake budget phones in markets like the ones these are aimed at. I hope Mozilla can be successful.

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MERCDROID says:

+1 I'm hoping they're successful, too.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

If I'm correct, these phones will not be coming stateside.

the big print giveth, the small print taketh

MERCDROID says:

More than likely, you're absolutely right. These devices are definitely more for developing countries. And, to be honest, they deserve them. Many people in those countries can't move to smartphones, because they're simply unaffordable to the majority of those populations. This should suit them well.

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Ry says:

FirefoxCentral?

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MERCDROID says:

Lol.

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Jonneh says:

Love it. :)

judasmachine says:

Anyone actually want to speculate on what are the actual specs? I'm guess around a 1GHz single core, 480x320 (barely better than resistive) screen, 512MB RAM, 4GB of storage. Just basically whatever old hardware they had laying around that is too slow to put into higher market aimed devices.

judasmachine says:

We all know they can make a top notch OS run on bargain basement hardware so lets hope for some great software optimization. I may order one just to have a Mozilla phone. Even if I have to pay shipping from India.

gamefreak715 says:

That makes for a pretty affordable burner

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jimbo says:

For the US, I doubt the cellular radios would be compatible.

flychinook says:

"This new bar in the entry-level smartphone space Mozilla says is to help people get online, to ditch their feature phones once and for all."

Maybe it's a bit different in countries with non-subsidized phones, but isn't it usually the monthly data service charges that are cost-prohibitive?

Shame we won't see them stateside, as I'd pick up 2.

the big print giveth, the small print taketh

en28so says:

I hope that mozilla is successful. The more competition the better.

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Does Mozilla / Firefox phone people not realize that there are 11+ millions of poor Americans who will benefit from the $25 smartphones?

+1

the big print giveth, the small print taketh