Mozilla is best known for the Firefox web browser, but its ambitions in the smartphone market through its wider Firefox OS software have been playing out for a while now. This week sees a big step forward with the launch of a smartphone called the Cloud FX in India, which will cost 1,999 rupees (just $33). It’s made by Indian manufacturer Intex Technologies, with a $38 smartphone from rival Spice Mobility to follow later in the week. It’s the first launch in Asia – let alone India – for the Firefox OS software, which is trying to provide an open alternative to the dominance of Android and iOS in the developed world, through a focus on web apps. “The biggest barrier for feature phone users is cost and usability,” said Mozilla’s Jane Hsu. “We think this is the best phone for them.” Let’s see how quickly the big Indian streaming music services support the new handsets: if they take off, it’s an opportunity for the music industry in an important yet challenging market.

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