Mozilla Plans to Release $25 Smartphone

John Lister's picture

A popular tech firm plans to offer a smartphone that costs just $25. The offering will initially be aimed at poorer countries, though could spread to more countries if the idea proves to be successful.

The $25 phone is from Mozilla, the company best known for making the Firefox browser. Mozilla has created its own Linux-based operating system to run on the phone, which supports many commonly used smartphone features.

$25 Smartphone Boasts Impressive Hardware

By most definitions, the classification of a smartphone is the ability for the user to download and install software programs onto the phone, known as apps, and this phone does exactly that.

Proposed hardware specifications include an ARM-based quad-core 1.2GHz processor, 4.5-inch screen with 854x480 resolution, rear and front cameras (5MP / 2MP respectively), 3G quad-band, 8GB of memory, 256MB to 1GB of system memory (RAM), GPS (global positioning system), battery capacity of 1,800 mAh, and wireless network (wi-fi): 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and a Micro USB. (Source:

It's most likely that the proposed $25 model may end up cutting a few corners on some of those specifications.

Moreover, the $25 phone certainly won't be a rival to the likes of the iPhone. Instead, Mozilla initially plans to target developing markets in Africa, Asia and South America. It's particularly interested in countries with large populations who are gradually getting wealthier, but where US-style prices simply won't fit. (Source:

Bulk Buying Means Cheap Smartphones

So how can the phone possibly be made so cheaply?

Mozilla believes it's a numbers game, and has made a deal with a Chinese firm to manufacture the chipsets in the smartphones. That's the electronic component that turns ordinary telephones into what are effectively miniature computers.

Because Mozilla is aiming at such large markets, it will be able to place orders for chipsets in huge quantities. That in turn allows it to get rock-bottom prices.

The move could raise eyebrows at Google, whose Android system is used on most cheaper smartphones and is most likely to be affected by competition from Mozilla. That's potentially awkward as at the moment, as most of Mozilla's money comes from a deal with Google to make it the default search engine in Firefox.

$25 Smartphone May Be Less Attractive With Service Fees

There's no logistical reason why Mozilla couldn't bring the phone to markets such as the US and offer it at a cheap price. However, it wouldn't necessarily be seen as so much of a bargain - that's because smartphones need a data connection to access online services.

Because network carriers charge high monthly fees for the data connection, the price of the handset is less of a factor in the US. Not long ago, Microsoft offered two extremely cheap smartphones under the Kin brand, but failed to attract many buyers because those on a budget were put off by the monthly service costs.

What's Your Opinion?

Would you buy a $25 smartphone like the one mentioned in this story, if it was available in your country? Or, would you prefer to pay extra to get a model with more features? Do service charges put you off from purchasing a smartphone altogether?

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bobf0648's picture

Would I buy one? You're damn right I would. If nothing else just to try it.

with unlimited, no contract plans available, how can you loose? It's worth $25.00 just to try!

Dennis Faas's picture

Everyone makes fun of me because I'm still using a Motorola Krzr. Affectionately referred to as my "dumb phone", it keeps me connected - but only when I need to. I don't surf Facebook or the Internet while out in public; it feels strange saying that nowadays, but it's true. I'd rather be unwired when I'm not sitting in front of my computer. Nonetheless, $25 for a smartphone, even with some (if not all) of the features mentioned in this article seems like a great deal!