While specs could be all the rage for discerning buyers, trends indicate India’s smartphone revolution hinges as much on pricing—smartphone purchases grew to 44 million in 2013, mostly on the back of the likes of Karbonn, Micromax and Lava, makers of low-cost models. So, when Mozilla, the developer of the Firefox browser, enters the Indian market in partnership with Spice and Intex this July with a smartphone priced at R1,500, finding the right price point could be that much difficult for most makers, especially for the makers of the models considered affordable at the moment. The Mozilla smartphone will come with the developer’s app store, Firefox Marketplace, and the all-too-common apps such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, etc. What works for Mozilla in setting low prices is that it runs on a non-profit, open source model for software development thus managing to keep costs low.
So, even though Karbonn and Micromax and Lava, as per IDC data for Q1FY14, together account for 31% of the smartphone market in India—nearly equalling leader Samsung’s share—with their smartphones typically priced between R4,000-7,000, their newest competitor will be priced almost as low as some of the cheapest feature or “dumb” phones are. Analysts hold that the next wave of first-time internet users will be logging on from phones rather than computers. Given the large number of unconnected Indians in the low income bracket, the Mozilla-Spice and Mozilla Intex phones find surfing the potential smartphone tide easy.