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Spice launches Firefox OS phone Fire One Mi FX1 for Rs 2,299

PTI     August 29, 2014

Aimed at capturing a larger chunk of the booming affordable smartphone market in the country, domestic handset maker Spice on Friday launched its new Firefox OS-powered smartphone, the Fire One Mi FX1, priced at Rs 2,299.

The affordable smartphone is powered by the Firefox OS and 1 GHz processor. It has a 3.5-inch screen, expandable memory up to 4 GB, 1.3MP rear and 0.3 MP front camera and 1,400 mAh battery. Spice has also partnered Aircel to offer 1 GB free monthly data for three months.

The move follows the launch of another Firefox OS device last week by local rival, Intex, which had launched the India's first Firefox OS-based handset for Rs 1,999.

"This dual SIM-handset is targetted at those looking to upgrade from feature phones without worrying about the price or complexity of a smartphone. We are confident that the device will meet the demands of those looking to move to smartphone," Spice Mobility Chief Executive Officer Prashant Bindal told PTI.

Spice expects to sell about one lakh units of the new device in next two months.

"We will begin sales online through Snapdeal and later decide on the offline route. We should sell about 50,000 units a month in the next two months," he said.

Software major Mozilla, which runs the Firefox browser, had showcased a smartphone prototype costing as little as US $25 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, targeting at developing countries including India and China.

It had partnered Intex and Spice from India for launching these low-cost devices in the country, which is the fastest growing smartphone market globally. It already has devices in 17 countries.

Spice is also expected to launch a new sub-US $100 device, under the Android One initiative, soon.

Earlier this year, Google had partnered with three domestic smartphone makers, Spice, Micromax and Karbonn, to deliver a smartphone under US $100 (about Rs 6,000) under the Android One initiative.

Handset makers are betting big on mobile Internet to reach out to newer audiences. Various reports suggest that the next billion population accessing the Internet for the first time will do so on their phones instead of personal computers.

Companies like Microsoft, which acquired Nokia's handset division, are also targeting the affordable smartphone category aggressively, estimating it to be a US $50 billion annual opportunity.

The smartphone market in India grew at 84 per cent year-on-year to 18.42 million units in Q2 of 2014 from 10.02 million units (in April-June 2013 quarter), as per research firm IDC.

Korean handset maker Samsung led the smartphone market with 29 per cent share, followed by Micromax at 18 per cent, Karbonn at eight per cent and Lava at six per cent.

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