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Jun 11, 2014

Mozilla recently announced that they would be expanding their smartphone market into India by partnering with Spice and Intex device manufacturers. Mozilla, the non-profit organization behind Firefox browser started developing Firefox OS to beat the open-source mobile OS giant Android. Last year, Mozilla launched Alcatel One Touch Fire which is a very low end featured phone and unfortunately that should not be debut phone for Firefox OS. With very low features and almost equal to basic phone, Firefox OS’s first impressions are not so stunning.

Why is it hard to beat android?
Mozilla is aiming at emerging smartphone markets for its Firefox OS devices. But the point is, can Firefox OS survive in India which is already crowded with innumerable android devices. Android has captivated a huge chunk of smartphone share in last few years and has become the favorite choice for the budget smartphone seekers. We could say Android has almost created monopoly in smart devices. Heading up to fight with the giant droid, Firefox OS should go with innovative, powerful and yet affordable strategies.

The power of Android lies in its OS and price. Thanks to indigenous manufacturers who brought android more close to India with a wide range of smartphone catalogue. Anyone can choose an android phone starting from Rs.3000 to 50,000 in India. To cover this wide price range for Firefox OS, it could take ages while the android would reign more.

While Mozilla is aiming at launch low-end smartphones for now, Android is making powerful devices that could almost replace a laptop. Moreover, with no significant feature better than android, Firefox OS’s future is uncertain. Andy Boxall from Digital Trends wrote an article titled “I used Firefox OS for 30 days and it made me want to quit phones forever”. He said that “If this is what Mozilla is sending to do battle with the mighty green Android, then it’s a suicide mission”.

Are we resistant to a new OS?
With Android and iOS people are comfortable and that made the path for a new OS very narrow. Because they are easy to use, have huge app markets, powerful yet affordable. In this scenario, a new OS with no ground-breaking innovation has a limited possibility for its survival.

With few apps it would take much more time for Firefox OS to make equivalent devices to Android and iOS. While the giants of mobile-OS are moving onto other segments of tech-gear like android watches, Mozilla has a high need to pull its socks tight to run faster.

Final word
Thus in regions like India where the smartphone market is too congested with local and international players, a new operating system is not a well welcomed aspect. Moreover, India is highly price-sensitive market where affordability of devices decide the penetration of the device. Best example from the recent past is Moto G which almost captured price segment (10k to 15k) with its affordable price and features.

So if Firefox OS would like to beat or at least fight with already established operating systems in India, it should and must come up with two weapons : innovative features and attractive price tag.