Firefox OS is coming to Japan and doing it in style.
Announced at a KDDI press event in Tokyo today, the Fx0 is a striking 4.7-inch smartphone with a transparent shell and a home button decorated with the golden Firefox logo embracing the Earth. It runs the latest version of Mozilla's web-centric mobile OS and was designed by noted Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka, whose previous collaboration with KDDI produced a phone worthy of making it into the Museum of Modern Art's collection. With the Fx0, Yoshioka has worked around the familiar outlines of LG's G3 design (LG is the silent partner producing the device) and adapted them to a smaller size while producing a delightful aesthetic in the process. Like a watch with a window showing its internal mechanism, this phone's exposed electronics are a subtle reminder of its technical sophistication — plus, that Firefox home button is just plain cool.
The Fx0 marks a break from Mozilla's established strategy of making the cheapest possible phones and dares to stray into the middle of the smartphone price and spec range. At a cost of 50,000 yen (roughly $420), this smartphone is significantly more expensive than the average Firefox OS handset, but it seeks to justify that price rise with its good looks and greater capabilities. NFC, LTE, and other widely adopted features are making their Firefox OS debut on the Fx0, making it a much more competitive and compelling proposition for buyers that are less constrained by their budget. Still, Firefox OS shouldn't be confused as any sort of competitor to the smartphone high end, and the base specs of the Fx0 are relatively underwhelming: a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, and a 2,370mAh battery.
How do you spell geek chic?
The device is built by LG, and it embodies the next big step for Firefox OS, but KDDI is the company in charge of its fate. Together with Mozilla, the Japanese carrier hopes to promote the concept of "a new worldwide WoT (Web of Things) experience, which connects various objects using Web technology regardless of PC or smartphone." KDDI has created a dedicated Fx sub-site and is encouraging developers to get involved and build out the Firefox OS software ecosystem, marking a significant investment into helping the platform prosper and grow. The Fx0 goes on limited sale this Thursday, December 25th, and will be available across Japan from January 6th. It's unlikely that the custom KDDI design will ever go global, but it certainly sets a beautiful tone for future devices in the Firefox OS family.