James Ho along with Prashant Bindal at the launch of Spice Fire One Mi- FX1 in New Delhi. (Photo: Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times)
Aimed at capturing a larger chunk of the booming affordable smartphone market in India, domestic handset maker Spice on Friday launched its new Firefox OS-powered smartphone, priced at Rs. 2,299.
The move follows the launch of another Firefox OS device last week by local rival, Intex, which had launched 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 USD 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-USD 100 device, under the Android One initiative, soon.
Earlier this year, Google had partnered Spice, Micromax and Karbonn from India to deliver a smartphone under USD 100 (about Rs. 6,000) under the Android One initiative.
The Spice Fire One Mi FX1 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.
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 USD 50 billion annual opportunity.
The smartphone market in India grew at 84 % 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 % share, followed by Micromax at 18 %, Karbonn at 8 % and Lava at 6 %.