This Japan-bound Firefox phone is transparently gorgeous

Most phones running Mozilla’s mobile Firefox OS to this point have been drab and cheap affairs. But take a look at the latest Firefox phone headed to Japan: Called Fx0, it’s the highest-performance Firefox phone we’ve seen so far, wrapped in an unusual and gorgeous transparent body.


Although Mozilla and KDDI, its Japanese carrier partner, are calling the Fx0 a “high-spec” device, that’s only in comparison to other Firefox phones that cost under $50. With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, 1.5GB of RAM, and a 4.7-inch, 720 x 1280 screen packed into its translucent shell, it’ll leave Firefox phones like the Cloud FX in the dust, but won’t stand up to the best that Android or iOS offers. The Fx0 will support NFC and LTE; the first Firefox phone to do so.

The Fx0 isn’t just pretty for its own sake. Designed by Tokujin Yoshioka — who has work in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Pompidou Centre in Paris — and manufactured by LG, the transparent shell is supposed to reflect “the openness, freedom and transparency that are core to the Mozilla mission.” For most people, they will simply think this phone looks cool. After all, there aren’t a lot of transparent phones readily available.

In Japan, the Fx0 will cost 50,000 yen, or about $416 dollars when it goes on sale on January 6th. (A limited sale starts on December 25th.)

That easily makes it the most expensive Firefox phone and puts it in a price category where it will have to compete with awfully compelling Android devices which are often less expensive. But KDDI seems to be planning to give the Firefox ecosystem as much of a boost as it can, with a dedicated website meant to encourage developers. One thing that would certainly give Firefox OS a little bit of a momentum is if this translucent gem became available in the United States.



The wireless industry swallows the Wi-Fi pill

At this year’s Mobile World Congress, you would expect LTE to hog the spotlight, but LTE might find itself overshadowed by a less sexy technology: Wi-Fi. As telecom vendors prep their new porfolios for MWC in two weeks, there is a preponderance of Wi-Fi products.

World IPv6 switch-over event scheduled for June 6

The Internet Society is organizing a pow wow of big ISPs, web companies and networking equipment providers on June 6 to ceremonially bury the world’s current Internet protocol, IPv4, and permanently implement its successor, IPv6.

Wi-Fi’s coming identity crisis

On Tuesday, iPass introduced a new Wi-Fi roaming service that is one of many data points in Wi-Fi’s slow transition from home networking tech for geeks to must-have for every mobile device to perhaps another source of carrier revenue. Will carriers charge for Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi: It’s the other cell network

Japan’s KDDI has seen the future of cellular service and Wi-Fi (and even WiMAX) has a starring role. Its heterogeneous network is the future of mobile broadband, and could lead to lower operating costs and perhaps cheaper prices for end users.

After Verizon, Skype Friends Japan’s KDDI

Skype today announced that it has signed up KDDI, a Japanese phone company, which will integrate Skype into some of its handsets. This makes KDDI one of the handful of cellphone companies (including Verizon Wireless) Skype is looking for growth, ahead of its IPO.

Google’s Underwater Ambitions Expand

Google is making its second underwater cable investment, an effort to link parts of Asia Pacific and add up to 23 Tbps of bandwidth capacity to the region. The construction is part of a boom in submarine cables fueled by broadband demand.

Motorola LTE: It’s Not Dead Yet!

[qi:gigaom_icon_lte] Just three days after an analyst questioned Motorola’s (s mot) ability to win any business selling Long Term Evolution equipment (something I had been asking the company about as well), the vendor said it won a contract to provide LTE equipment to Japan’s KDDI. This is the first LTE customer win for Motorola. KDDI, which also operates a WiMAX network, will conduct trials around 2010, and says the commercial launch of the network will take place in December 2012. This is good news for Motorola, which has seen rivals Alcatel-Lucent (s alu) and Ericsson (s eric) win contracts for other major LTE deployments.