Firefox have launched their first mobile operating system on a device released in Africa.
The smartphones, made in conjunction with mobile operator Orange, went on sale in Senegal and Madagascar this week. The news follows a joint Mozilla-Orange announcement at Mobile World Congress 2015 that smartphones with a Firefox-branded operating system would be available in markets throughout Africa and the Middle East by the end of the year.
“We are pleased to partner with Orange to bring the mobile Web to users in a substantial number of new growth markets across Africa and the Middle East,” said Andreas Gal, CTO of Mozilla. “I’m also thrilled to see how the imminent arrival of Firefox OS has created excitement in the local Mozilla communities.”
The company started shipping the 3G ‘Orange Klif’ phones in South Africa back in spring and are planning to continue their international roll-out of the device in the coming months.
Mozilla join an already competitive smartphone market on the African continent with 4G iPhones and flagship Android devices already used widely. Despite this, there remains a huge swathe of untapped potential in the African market, where millions of people have so far been unable to afford to own a device that connects to the mobile web.
This is the demographic that Firefox are targeting with their 3G Klif, as they try to get devices into the hands of people who have never before owned a smartphone. In a statement on their website, Mozilla claimed that the Africa launch was a massive step forward in the company’s promise to put the “mobile Web within reach of millions more people.”