Cheap Smarts

BARCELONA, February 23, 2014 (AFP) – Firefox OS, an upstart smartphone operating system aimed a challenging the Apple and Google duopoly, will power a new category of $25 smartphones for developing countries, the California-based nonprofit Mozilla Foundation said Sunday. Mozilla sought to show off the success of its system, launched a year ago to prise open a market in which Google’s Android was at the heart of 78.4 percent of all smartphones sold last year and Apple’s iOS in another 15.6 percent, according to figures from technology research house Gartner Inc.

On the eve of the opening on Monday of the four-day Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Mozilla announced the commercial launch of seven new devices using Firefox OS including Chinese handset maker ZTE’s smartphones Open C and Open II, as well as a range of Alcatel OneTouch tablets.

“We are also enabling a whole new category of smartphone, priced around $25 (18 euros), that will bring even more people around the world online,” said Mozilla chief operating officer Jay Sullivan.

The entry-level smartphone would rely on integrated circuits made by Chinese electronics manufacturer Spreadtrum, he said.

“Firefox OS is off to an amazing start. We launched our first smartphones in July, and have