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Firefox Targets Developing States with Open Source Affordable Smartphones

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, September 7 2012

Firefox plans to launch an open source operating system for mobile phones next year, reports the New York Times Bits Blog. At around $100 per handset, this will make the price of a smart phone accessible to lower income people in developing nations, starting with Firefox's first target region — Latin America.

In addition to a Firefox browser (of course!), the phone will have "a sharp camera, a big touch screen, and an accelerometer."

Mozilla hopes its phone will increase the use of the Web itself on mobile devices, instead of mobile apps typically designed to work only with Apple or Google products. It still plans to release a mobile “store” where people can find and buy mobile software, but does not plan to police it, like Apple, or block developers not working with Google, as the search company does with its store.

Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs sees the lower-priced, open source smartphone as a democratizing device that facilitates global connections. Firefox is to partner with a number of telecoms around the world, including major European companies like Telefónica Digital and Deutsche Telekom.

The Brazilian telecom Vivo is scheduled to debut the Firefox OS smartphone in early 2013.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.