India launch date for Firefox phones still up in the air

Mozilla's reliance on telecom operators for launching Firefox OS phones may be the reason for unclear India launch dates.

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India launch date for Firefox phones still up in the air

Mozilla may be targeting budget markets for the phones running its new Firefox mobile OS but the company has revealed that it has no plans to launch the devices in India in the immediate future. In an email communication with The Economic Times, Mozilla said that it couldn’t share a specific timeline for an India launch of any smartphone running the new OS even though it has plans to launch the devices in Brazil, Hungary, Spain, Serbia, Venezuela, Montenegro, Colombia, Poland and Mexico by July.

Mozilla is planning to enter the above mentioned markets in partnerships with telecom operators and that could be the main reason that India doesn’t feature in the initial list of countries. Since in India, most phones are launched directly by the manufacturers and very rarely by telecom operators, Mozilla will have to be directly involved in launching the devices here, a process that will require significant time and effort. Also, Mozilla will need all the help it gets from network operators to encourage user adoption and to drum up its app ecosystem, something that it will, again, have to do on its own in India.

On the other hand, Mozilla’s decision to hold off on an India launch for its Firefox OS phones could be seen as short-sighted. India is a big market for budget smartphones, a market that’s firmly in the grip of Android manufacturers like Samsung, Micromax and Karbonn. For Mozilla to break that hold, it will need to enter the market as soon as possible and with a big push. Sony has already made it clear that it intends to launch a Firefox OS phone and it already has an established presence in the Indian market. Instead of relying on telecom operators, Mozilla could leverage its partnership with Sony to enter the Indian market. Yes, that may require more effort from Mozilla than in the markets where it’s tieing up with telecom operators but as we mentioned earlier, the size of the Indian market may be worth that effort.

Alcatel and ZTE are expected to launch the first Firefox OS powered phones in July.

Source: The Times of India

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