The evolution of the cheap smartphone

5 years ago by in Feature Articles
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DSC_0414“There are many barriers to get people on the internet, including the cost and availability of devices. This is something that we need to address in order to deliver on our strategy of Internet for All,’’ says Holger Hussmann, VP Device and OS at Telenor Digital (pictured left).

Telenor has been collaborating with Mozilla since 2012, and its mutual efforts are centered on building the new operating system, Firefox OS, which enables Telenor to address the lower-end smartphone market.

At the 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Telenor Group announced in detail its cooperation with Mozilla, with the aim of bringing Firefox OS-powered mobile phones to its customers in Central and Eastern Europe. At the end of last year, Telenor began selling the Alcatel One Touch Fire to customers in Serbia, and has also launched Firefox OS based phones in Hungary and Montenegro.

“There are some technical advantages in Firefox OS over other operating systems that make it easier to run it on lower spec devices, cheaper devices, and therefore it’s an ideal solution to bring internet to people in the lower price markets,” says Hussmann.

By embracing Mozilla’s open web platform, Telenor aims to give more customers a high-quality mobile internet experience

Telenor has a dedicated team within its Telenor Digital division that is contributing to the code development of Firefox OS. The devices are continuously being developed and upgraded to improve service quality and customer experience. Hussmann is astonished by the newest devices – prototypes as of now – scheduled to hit markets in the first half of 2014. These devices are clear indications of the positive evolution of low-end smartphones.

Telenor is committed to spreading mobile internet to all its customers across Asia and Europe. By embracing Mozilla’s open web platform, Telenor aims to give more customers a high-quality mobile internet experience, complete with applications that are tailored to suit local needs. The development of the phone, which is based on HTML5, is in the hands of many, which ultimately enriches the experience for the customer.

Firefox OS is a truly open system that frees consumers and developers from the limitations of existing ecosystems through the use of the web as an access platform. Its design and construction with open source also allows a constant and rapid evolution of the system through collaborative work with Mozilla.

“It needs to be a low cost, reasonably good device; there needs to be a very attractive service offering on the device; and then also a subscription which makes people use the device,’’ Hussmann says. “If all three play together, then we have something we really can offer to people and make the customers really happy, because they can start using the internet at an affordable price.”

In 2014, Telenor aims to bring Firefox OS phones to Asia, where the company has more than 140 million subscribers and is present in six markets, including Myanmar.

“Working with Firefox OS is the right technical choice,’’ Hussmann says. “It’s a young operating system which needs to evolve all the time. It’s addressing the right market, and the way it’s built makes it optimal for lower-end smartphones.”

“I think that Mr. Cook will be very surprised when he sees these affordable devices performing so nicely,’’ concludes Hussmann.