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Firefox OS smartphones shown off by ZTE and Alcatel

by Mark Tyson on 25 February 2013, 10:25

Tags: Mozilla, PC, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabs4v

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Firefox OS smartphones have appeared at the MWC courtesy of handset makers ZTE and Alcatel with more on the horizon from LG and Huawei. We saw some developer Firefox OS phones a month ago, these handsets aren’t a lot different looking to those. Both the ZTE and Alcatel handsets shown look to be at the lower end of the market, perhaps higher end models will be made by these companies or that will be left up to Huawei and LG. As well as the new phones Mozilla announced a total of 18 operators who will partner to bring Firefox OS phones to customers worldwide.

ZTE Open

The ZTE Open is a small, 3.5-inch screened smartphone. The specifications, according to PCPro, are as follows; “a 3.5in HVGA, 320 x 480 resolution display, a single-core 600-800MHz Qualcomm processor, only 256MB of RAM and also a rather low-capacity 1,200mAh battery”. The specs and build quality aren’t going to set the world alight, even at the expected price point of $100. However the Mozilla spokesperson did say that the example unit was “very pre-production”.

Alcatel One Touch Fire

The Alcatel effort is also going to be an “affordable” handset with the same sized HVGA screen as the ZTE Open. According to initial specs it should have a bit more oomph, due to the 1GHz Qualcomm processor but the c-net reviewer thought it felt “pretty slow” during his hands-on time.

The Alcatel One Touch Fire has the following specs; 3.5-inch HVGA, 320x480 pixel display, single-core 1GHz Qualcomm processor, 256MB of RAM, 3.2 MP camera, 2GB microSD card installed, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Comparison of the ZTE and Alcatel by the Verge

Network operator partners

Firefox OS smartphones will be sold with a focus on the developing world and Eastern Europe. The first wave of countries to get Mozilla smartphones will be Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela.

Mozilla has agreements with the following telcos; America Movil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefonica, Telenor, TMN and VimpelCom.

Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla said of the new mobile phone OS “Firefox OS brings the freedom and unbounded innovation of the open Web to mobile users everywhere”. He added “With the support of our vibrant community and dedicated partners, our goal is to level the playing field and usher in an explosion of content and services that will meet the diverse needs of the next two billion people online.”

Looking at these early handsets and their various hands on videos and reports doesn’t fill me with much enthusiasm about the prospects of the Firefox OS on mobiles. Even at $100 these phones seem quite expensive for the unresponsive performance many reporters cite. However Mozilla still has a few months until the first handsets supposed to ship, so it does have time to optimise things.

HEXUS Forums :: 7 Comments

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“pretty slow” or very slow?

I mean for $100 market, what is to be expected? The Nokia 510 is pretty snappy, until you try and browse a complex website say, given that the whole Firefox OS is built around technology which isn't exactly renowed for its speed, how is it going to beat Andriod? Let alone WP.
$100 still seems quite expensive for a phone targeted at “developing markets”, when you consider that you can get Android devices with similar (or better!) specs for that money, and from ZTE too.

Does seem a bit of an odd move but the more competition we have in the mobile space the better, so wouldn't knock it for that..will just be surprised if any actually sell!
Do we *really* need another smartphone OS? What exactly do Firefox hope to bring to the table with this?
Do we *really* need another smartphone OS? What exactly do Firefox hope to bring to the table with this?

Given the whole App Store thing, anyone who can push competition away from Google, Apple and Microsoft is a good thing.

I still wish that the EU would do something about only allowing apps which you get a cut of on your devices/OS. Given Apple's share of mobile computing, I would have thought it fell fowl of anti-monopoly laws, if it doesn't, those laws which prevent the bundling of Windwos Media Player are absolutely useless.
Do we *really* need another smartphone OS? What exactly do Firefox hope to bring to the table with this?
My thoughts exactly - personally I thought Mozilla were out of their tiny minds in doing this. I just can't see who they expect to cover with this - certainly can't see it going against Android and Windows Phone for mid range, and against those two plus Blackberry and iOS for the high end. So that leaves only “budget” devices and you're surely never going to make a good living from those alone.

Oh, and while I'm on a grouching session, is it just me or is Firefox on Android getting worse (slower, less stable, etc)?? I'm seriously contemplating a permanent switch to Opera.