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"Writing a Firefox OS app is never a wasted effort. You can easily make a HTML5 app to iOS, but not the other way around," Heilmann noted. Some other selling points for the phones include the ability for in-app purchases to be charged to the carrier, precluding the need for credit cards, and the phones come with features that remain important in developing markets, such as FM band radios built in. Hanging success on those factors is not a sure thing, however. Jan Dawson, the chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, said that Mozilla's inability to get a U.S. or U.K. carrier to offer the phone reflects the inherent weakness in the strategy.

"It's not clear to me really what Firefox OS offers that the mass-market consumer can't get from somewhere else, and for better from somewhere else," he added, Milanesi agreed that carrier reliance could backfire for Mozilla, "I see them depending a lot on the carrier branding, marketing, and push, They're going to go as far as the carriers want them to go," she said, "I don't see them being able to create demand from high loyalty."The linchpin to Mozilla's mobile plan is coming up later this year, Firefox phones are expected to launch in Brazil in the fourth quarter with Telefonica Brasil, Milanesi described the Brazilian market as "very demanding," in part because blend s iphone case of the country's high import tariffs..

"Given that Alcatel has a presence there, this will be a big advantage to them," she said. Alcatel makes the Firefox OS phone One Touch. "I think Brazil is going to be a massive breakthrough," said Heilmann. "We did a lot of [user experience] research finding out what people need, things like the FM radio in the phone. The community there is really, really excited."It's hard to predict what a market that has a low smartphone saturation will do once affordable smartphones are available. Dawson said that he's basing much of his skepticism on the past being prelude.

"One of the fundamental challenges is whether you can monetize the Firefox OS apps," he said, and added that even with the market dominance of Android, people still spend more blend s iphone case money on iOS apps, The big question, he said, is how Mozilla will convince people to buy apps, "I think [Firefox OS] is a good idea," said Milanesi, "If they did it when Android had 40 percent of the market, possibly they'd succeed, But with Android devices coming from Chinese players at $80 to $90, it's a much more difficult play."Other countries that will soon see Firefox OS phones include Germany, Greece, and Hungary, Beyond 2013, Mozilla will take a stab at some higher-end hardware in Japan with Sony, while it continues to push Firefox phones into newer low-cost markets like China and southeast Asia..

But even there the phones will face difficulties, said Mozilla's Li. "We consider this a low-cost phone, but in some markets it's not low-cost enough." China, Li said, will require a different strategy, along with different hardware: most phones sold there are not supported by the carriers, and China is a CDMA-band only country, not GSM or dual-band. Perhaps the biggest hill the Firefox phone must climb in order to thrive is one of perception. It doesn't have the backing of the billions of dollars needed to compete with Android and iOS, as Windows Phone does, and it's not clear yet that Web developers will migrate to HTML5 apps as willingly as Mozilla claims they will.

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