Feeds

ZTE's $80 Firefox OS mobe sells out on eBay

Can anybody keep these things in stock?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

If you were hoping to get your hands on ZTE's first Firefox OS phone and you don't live in one of the markets where it was picked up by a mobile carrier, you may be out of luck for now.

The Chinese smartphone maker put a limited stock of its new ZTE Open handset up for sale to customers worldwide last Friday, exclusively via its eBay shops in the US and the UK. As of Monday, both stores were out of stock.

The devices didn't sell out quite as quickly as Spanish startup Geeksphone's initial run of developer-only Firefox handsets, which were snapped up within hours of their launch.

Still, the fact that ZTE's experiment with direct-to-customer sales was a success proves that there's still strong interest in the Mozilla Foundation's web-based smartphone platform, particularly among developers.

ZTE's first Firefox OS mobe is currently available through Deutsche Telekom in Poland, and Telefónica offers it via its subsidiaries in Colombia, Spain, and Venezuela. Each company is expected to introduce it in additional markets in the coming months.

So far, though, no carrier in either the US or the UK has opted to pick up the ZTE Open – or any Firefox OS device, for that matter.

That's as may be, because for now at least, the Mozilla Foundation is positioning its OS as a platform for entry-level smartphones for the developing world, particularly in markets where most mobile customers are still using feature phones.

Photo of ZTE Open Firefox OS smartphone

The hardware's not much to write home about, but the price is right

In keeping with that vision, the ZTE Open ships with rather meager specs. It has a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip, a 3.5-inch HVGA screen, 512MB of internal storage, and just 256MB of RAM – less RAM, in fact, than the desktop version of Firefox recommends. None of its other features are particularly noteworthy, either.

What makes up for its lackluster hardware, however, is its price. ZTE was selling the devices through its eBay stores for $79.99 in the US and £59.99 in the UK. That's roughly equivalent to the €69 that Telefónica's Movistar subsidiary sells it for in Spain, although Movistar bundles €30 of prepaid minutes.

One of ZTE's bright orange handsets is winging its way to Vulture Annex in San Francisco as we speak, so we should be able to tell you more about its performance and build quality soon. (Look here for a Reg correspondent's early hands-on impressions of Firefox OS itself.)

If you're still hoping to score one for yourself, on the other hand, ZTE advises you to sign up for its newsletter – available from either its US or UK eBay shop – to be notified when and if a new batch of Firefox OS mobes becomes available. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on
Next driver to battle fake chips with 'non-invasive' methods
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.