Firefox Mobile

Amongst many other things, today I went to the Firefox stand at MWC. It was very full of excited people talking about their new venture with some of the leading mobile operators to launch a new phone OS, aimed at the tier just below 'real' smartphones. There was much talk of openness and other ideologically correct things, and none at all about any consumer benefits. I did hear someone from Mozilla say that 'Firefox is a great consumer brand', though, which is a pretty questionable claim: the target consumers would be pushed to name ANY browser, let alone Firefox. There is a reference phone from ZTE (and also one from Alcatel I haven't seen yet): the software is perfectly elegant if not terribly new, but rather slow, and the device is targeted to cost $100.

50 yards away there is a half-empty stand from Haier, a second-tier Chinese OEM. Their W619 is a 2G android smartphone running Android 4, with 2 SIM slots, a 3.5" screen and an MTK chipset. It is very solid and the UI is perfectly fluid. The wholesale price is $50: 3G versions are $75. There are dozens of other companies at MWC selling similar products, for anyone who bothers to look.

I generally have little faith in industry-wide initiatives in mobile: I have none at all in this one.

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