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Testing a $35 Firefox OS phone—how bad could it be? | Ars Technica

Mon, 10/13/2014 - 06:21 -- rprice

Today's Internet is wildly skewed in favor of rich, English-speaking companies and users. Only five percent of the world's population speaks English as a first language, but 55 percent of webpages are in English. The countries without Internet access are exclusively the poorer ones—the "developing world." That means our Internet device is going to need to be as cheap as possible so that people can actually afford it, and the cheapest Internet-enabled device we can make is the smartphone. Its small size and relatively lightweight OSes are both qualities that lead to a low bill of materials, provided you aren't trying to make it powerful enough to double as a game console. Besides being the cheapest computer we can make, a smartphone is the perfect device for this environment. Its self-contained nature makes it easy to take along in a pocket. The battery is great when there's no power. Long-distance wireless Internet, like cellular data technologies, is much cheaper to deploy than laying cable. For many people in developing countries, the smartphone will be their first Internet device.