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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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.