Feeds

ZTE to flog Firefox OS mobe worldwide via eBay

Unlocked, low-powered, and dirt cheap

Boost IT visibility and business value

Chinese mobile maker ZTE has announced plans to sell a smartphone running the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox OS worldwide via online auction site eBay.

The company said the orange-colored version of the ZTE Open would go on sale "soon" for $79.99 on eBay's US site and £59.99 in the UK, though no specific date was given.

"The ZTE Open offers customers a smartphone experience at an incredible price point, making it ideal for cost conscious consumers or those looking to upgrade to a smartphone for the first time," ZTE vice president Dai Wenhong said in a statement.

Naturally, that low price tag won't get you a flagship device. In fact, by most smartphone platform standards, the ZTE Open's hardware specs are rather modest.

It's based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7225A chip, which includes a single 1GHz Cortex A5 processor core and an Adreno 200 GPU. It comes with 256MB of RAM and 512MB of internal storage, expandable via microSD cards. It has a 3.5-inch multitouch screen with 480-by-320 pixel resolution. It includes a 3.15MP rear-facing camera, an accelerometer, and an ambient light sensor, and it can pull in 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS, and FM radio. And that's about it.

Photo of ZTE Open Firefox OS smartphone

Hope you like orange, because that's the only color of the ZTE Open that will be sold on eBay

With specs like those, the ZTE Open is hardly going to give the next iPhone a run for its money. But based on early reports, it does an adequate job of running Mozilla's lightweight, HTML-based Firefox OS, which is only just beginning to trickle out into mobile markets worldwide.

Telefónica launched the ZTE Open in Spain on July 2, and Deutsche Telekom followed shortly thereafter in Poland. The carriers have since debuted the device in other regions, including Venezuela and Colombia.

Mozilla has positioned Firefox OS as a low-cost alternative to platforms like Android and iOS, particularly for developing markets where many customers are only just making the transition from low-end feature phones to smartphones and the mobile web.

The version of the ZTE Open that will sell through eBay will be fully unlocked, so it should work on most mobile carriers worldwide. According to a blog post from Mozilla, it will not be optimized for specific networks and it will include no local or carrier-specific apps or features.

On the other hand, well-heeled Firefox fans who can't stand the thought of using low-end hardware might look elsewhere. Spanish startup Geeksphone is accepting preorders of the Peak+ – a Firefox OS handset with a better processor than the ZTE One's, a better screen, more storage, and dual cameras – for €149 ($198/£128) for a limited time.

The Open won't be the last Firefox OS device from ZTE, either. The Chinese firm says it's merely "the first of the Firefox OS range that will be launched in 2013," though it gave no hint of how many more models might be forthcoming. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Top Gun display for your CAR: Heads-up fighter pilot tech
Sadly Navdy kit doesn't include Sidewinder missile to blast traffic
FEAST YOUR EYES: Samsung's Galaxy Alpha has an 'entirely new appearance'
Wow, it looks like nothing else on the market, for sure
YES YES YES! Apple patents mousy, pressure-sensing iVibrator
Fanbois prepare to experience the great Cupertin-O
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
Giving your old Tesco Hudl to Auntie June? READ THIS FIRST
You can never wipe supermarket slab clean enough
Intel admits: Broadwell Core M chip looking a bit thin, no fans found at all
Chipzilla's 'cool' 14nm part to hit market this year
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.