Mobile Opportunity

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This is a cross-Mozilla project to put the power of the web in more hands, in more places— particularly emerging digital economies.

Making smartphones affordable is an important component, and Mozilla is investing heavily to address with FFOS. In addition, we believe it's equally important to deliver an open platform that's open to innovation and easy to use, teaches key digital literacy skills to unlock the social and economic opportunities the Internet provides and enables the creation of economically useful local content.

To this end, we are building mobile experience for Webmaker that is an entry point to the community that provides a radically simple interface for creating mobile application directly on device. In conjunction with our ongoing device launches for Firefox OS, our goal is to enable users in developing markets such as Bangladesh, India, and Kenya to engage in the creation and sharing of applications that enrich their lives and empowers them with critical digital skills in the process.


See Mobile Opportunity RACI:

Project Deliverables

  • A Research paper on local content economics and its effect on international development goals
  • A field research program studying approaches to stimulating local content creation in Kenya, Bangladesh and India; one long form report published on the findings
  • 3 workshops and presentations of these learnings at GSMA events (including in Cape Town)
  • Small grants: 5 organizations provided with support to deliver innovative skills training and publish case studies on local content creation (potential partners include Souktel, Equity Bank, and BRAC)
  • Webmaker app (Q1, 2014)

Project Calendar

See calendar of planned activities

What, When, How, and Why

What We’re Doing Now

  • Created prototypes for on-device app authoring
  • Testing these prototypes in the field in key Firefox OS markets
  • Producing competitive insights based on consumer segmentation in key markets
  • Securing 3 major philanthropic partnerships to fund and amplify project
  • Developing "Webmaker" app that complements and drives participation in our global Webmaker program
  • Creating a plan for global app distribution and localization in many languages
  • Working with carriers to launch in-market as a "value added service" that helps people develop web literacy
  • Working with GSMA Foundation, via a grant, to research ways in which we might catalyze more local content

What We’re Doing Over the Next Six Months

  • Lead a formal PRD for on-device apps authoring as part of Firefox OS
  • Weave into brand / marketing story and celebrate at MWC 2015
  • Commission, review and greenlight business plans, as appropriate
  • Announce/launch the mobile version of Webmaker at Mobile World Congress in March, 2015 as part of an industry call to action
  • Integrate into our overall mobile strategy a complement to Firefox OS

How It Will Work

  • It will be free / open source / non exclusive, but we’re looking for strategic partners right now:
  • To do field trials around specific functionality (blocks for mobile money, integration with network services, et etc)
  • To do field trials around training / mentorship models that serve the most engaged users in the customer base
  • This includes events, informal learning through agent networks, skills pathways and other human development initiatives
  • Over time, we will develop an account management structure for MNOs
  • If we achieve significant install base, we may activate earned revenue models


Why It Matters

We believe in the positive impact smartphones and mobile web will have in emerging economies. Firefox OS is our contribution to this transition, including access to low cost hardware, HTML5 platform, and localization. Webmaker is our contribution to skills development and content creation across platforms (including Android) On-device app authoring could dramatically grow the supply of local apps in emerging markets, which could differentiate Firefox OS and the web platform and drive both consumer and operator demand. Though risky, a breakthrough user-facing innovation like this could re-energize partner, contributor, and user interest in Mozilla and its products. Our window of opportunity to realize these kinds of breakthrough innovations is small.

Webmaker Value Proposition to Users

  • Learn about the hardware and software capabilities of smartphones
  • Create a simple application or web page, entirely on the device
  • Share creations with other users through SMS, Facebook, and other social messaging
  • Find an event or community-facilitated digital skills training
  • Host an event or community-facilitated digital skills training
  • Find resources to develop a pathway toward more sophisticated skills (app making, digital business, etc)

Webmaker Value Proposition to Carriers

  • Research shows that properly on-boarding people to smartphones increases short-term ARPU
  • We’ll help users to create content that adds value on MNO's network services (mobile money).
  • Our software is designed for this kind of extensibility from the start
  • It will be easy to develop modules and extensions so users can add third-party functionality into their apps—i.e., mobile money or ad "bricks"
  • Finally, CSR: digital skills development benefits everyone in the ecosystem, and looks good on TV

How To Get Involved

  • If you'd like to contribute to these initiatives email
  • Read more and stay up to date with developments at (coming soon)



  • Ben Moskowitz: Senior Director, Development Strategy
  • Andrew Sliwinski: Director, Learning Products
  • Laura De Reynal: Field Research Coordinator
  • Michelle Thorne: Webmaker and Reps community
  • Paul Johnson: Marketing Lead

Key community members

  • Andre Garzia: technologist/community liaison coordinating Brazil pilots
  • Ricardio Panaggio: technologist/community liaison coordinating Brazil pilots
  • TBD: technologist/community liaison coordinating Bangladesh pilots
  • TBD: technologist/community liaison coordinating Bangladesh pilots
  • TBD: technologist/community liaison coordinating India pilots
  • TBD: technologist/community liaison coordinating India pilots
  • TBD: technologist/community liaison coordinating African pilots
  • TBD: technologist/community liaison coordinating African pilots

Executive support

  • Chris Beard
  • Mark Surman
  • Pete Scanlon
  • Rick Fant

Documentation and research