Getting into an affordable segment is top-of-mind for many OS providers and hardware makers. Earlier they were reluctant to jump into such territory, but with growing consumer base trends are changing now. In a quest to understand what drives consumers' anticipation, smartphone manufacturers have turned their philosophy to what could be the future in a long run, especially, in a country like India.
Of course Google's Android OS helped manufacturers to create a new affordable segment within the smartphone market. But the target to migrate a user from feature phone days to a connected ecosystem is still a distant dream. This is where the Intex-made Cloud FX jumps in. It's not a feature phone rather promises to be a complete connected device - that too, under Rs. 2000. Powered by Mozilla's Firefox OS, the Cloud FX will take on the crowded feature phone market (including Nokia's Asha range).
What's intriguing about the Intex Cloud FX is its price tag of Rs. 1,999, but at the same time it's a challenge in front of both Mozilla foundation and Intex to educate consumers the real benefits of using a smartphone phone over a basic feature phone. Also, the Firefox OS is primary web based, so there are certain limitations attached to it.
We got to experience the brand new Intex Cloud FX at the launch event and here our first impressions of the ultra low-cost device.
Intex Cloud FX - Form Factor, Design, Display and Operating System (OS)
The Cloud FX is undoubtedly not a dumb device at all. It has a simple form factor without messing up with core essence of promoting a user friendly phone. The handset is made out of plastic but it feels really good and sturdy. That's obviously one of the strong points to own this very phone.
The front side features a 3.5-inch display and a capacitive home button. On the top side of the phone, you'll notice the power button. There's a volume button and a micro-USB port on the left side. The rear-back side houses a camera and the speaker grill. Fortunately, the back cover can be removed.
While we are impressed with the Cloud FX's design, but the same cannot be said about this 3.5-inch TFT display. We found the screen isn't that blazing sharp and responsive to touch. In fact, colors are not vibrant and look de-saturated when viewed off-center. Even with so many defects, we do feel that a large 3.5-inch screen would be ideal for reading texts.
In terms of software, the Cloud FX is powered by Mozilla's Firefox OS. As we know, it is open-source software targeted at emerging markets like India and Brazil. Therefore, the OS is optimized for low-end devices, for instance, the Cloud FX.
The Cloud FX is an entry level smart phone running on Firefox OS. The Firefox OS is not mature compared to Android or iOS. However, it is very user-friendly in nature. Like Android, it also has a simple lock screen - side right to unlock the phone or side left to open the camera. The Firefox OS offers neat and simple UI - but there is no app drawer.
Users can fetch notifications that can be pulled down to the top. Swipe right and you'll find main home screen. A handful number of apps are there including email, camera, calendar, calculator, clock, gallery, video and settings, to name a few.
Unfortunately, popular apps like Whats App are not available on Firefox OS. Yes, you heard it right! The dedicated market place definitely lack quality of apps, though, you can download apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The Firefox OS is more like a dated version of Android. A lot of effort needs to be put in order to groom the OS.