The ZTE Open smartphone, which will support Mozilla’s new Firefox OS is set to go on sale in Spain tomorrow for 69 euros (about $90). Spain’s Telefonica will become the world’s first service provider to offer the smartphone with the Firefox operating system to compete with devices running Google Android and Apple IOS. The HTML5-based OS is designed to bring a smartphone experience at a low price point, with a particular focus on emerging markets.
This move follows the announcement at Mobile World Congress in February in Barcelona where many leading smartphone makers announced to incorporate Firefox OS in their devices. Besides ZTE, other vendors backing the platform include Alcatel OneTouch, Huawei, LG and Sony Mobile. But these companies have not announced yet when they will come out with their smartphones which will support new OS.
Telefonica will follow the Spanish launch with other market rollouts, including Colombia and Venezuela. Meanwhile Poland looks set to be Deutsche Telekom’s first market for Firefox OS mobile devices, and Telenor promises launches in Central and Eastern Europe this year.
Equipped with a 3.5-inch 480×320-pixel touchscreen, the ZTE Open includes a 3.2MP camera, 256MB RAM and 512MB flash memory enhanced with a 4GB microSD card that comes as part of the package.
The device is aimed at the youth market and at people who are new to smartphones,
The ZTE Open is fully integrated with Facebook and the Spain-based social network Tuenti and talks are on about incorporating the WhatsApp instant-messaging service, Telefonica said.
Commenting on the launch, Luis Miguel Gilpérez, CEO of Telefónica España, said: “We believe that smartphones need to be more open and that the web is the platform for making this possible. Consumers should not be locked to any one system but have the choice to consume the content they want and the flexibility to be able to take it with them when they change devices. This first open web device marks a significant milestone in making this possible. This is just the beginning as we plan to bring a wide range of Firefox OS devices to our customers.”
Mozilla executives said the ZTE Open is the “first chapter” in what they expect to be a long project, one that is already attracting interest from many other telecommunications companies.
Firefox OS faces an uphill struggle to win market share amongst both consumers and app developers, but Mozilla claims that an opportunity exists for an alternative mobile platform. This OS will face stiff competition from very popular Android and iOS mobile operating systems. How new OS is received by the consumers, will be known only after few weeks only when they start using it.