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Mozilla offers $33 smartphone in bid to capture Indian market

A man uses a smartphone as he walks through Connaught Place in New Delhi, India

Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Mozilla Corp. began offering its first low-cost smartphone in India for 1,999 rupees ($33), in a bid to build market share for its open source software in the world's fastest growing market for such devices.

The Cloud FX phone will run Mozilla's Firefox operating system and offer games and other content through its applications store, Jane Hsu, the company's Taipei-based director of product marketing said at a New Delhi briefing yesterday. The device has 128 megabytes of RAM memory, a two– megapixel camera, and a one gigahertz processor, she said.

Mozilla's inexpensive smartphone push might be its best bet for gaining users in India, where more people access the Internet through smartphones than computers. Indian consumers will buy about 225 million smartphones this year, according to Brad Rees, chief executive officer of Mediacells Ltd., a London– based marketing company.

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"The biggest barrier for feature phone users is cost and usability," Hsu said, referring to upgrading users of devices with limited Internet capability. "We think this is the best phone for them."

Intex Technologies (India) Ltd., based in New Delhi, manufactured the Cloud FX smartphone that went on sale yesterday on the e-commerce site Mozilla will introduce a $38 phone later this week made by Spice Mobility Ltd., based near New Delhi. Hsu said other deals with Indian smartphone makers will be announced in coming weeks that she declined to identify.

Mozilla unveiled its operating system in July 2013 with mid-priced phones in Latin America and Europe, subsidized through local wireless carriers. Now in 15 countries, this is Mozilla's first foray into Asia, said Hsu.

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