ZTE Open Firefox Phone Announced

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By Alistair Charlton | February 25, 2013 8:49 PM EST

ZTE has announced the Open, one of the first smartphones to be sold running Mozilla's Firefox OS, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Chinese manufacturer is targeting the lower end of the smartphone market with the Open, which has a 3.5in 480 x 320 display and is powered by a Qualcomm MSM7225A chipset with just 256MB of RAM and 512MB of internal storage.

On the back the ZTE Open has a 3.2-megapixel fixed-focus camera, and inside there is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS and a 1,200 mAh battery.

Of course, specifications like this can hardly be described as impressive, but then we always knew the first devices running Firefox would be aimed at developing markets, where budgets are tighter and smartphone ownership is a relatively new concept.

The ZTE Open has the same screen size as the original iPhone, the Firefox operating looks quite similar to iOS, with its rows of app icons and dock for four of your most-used, and although there isn't yet a fully-fledged app store, the Open runs web apps just as the iPhone did at launch in 2007.

Its reliance of web-based HTML5 applications means there are already a number of high profile apps ready for Firefox OS, such as Cut The Rope, Facebook and Nokia's Here maps.

The Open is joined by the Alcatel One Touch Fire as the first devices to run Firefox OS, and we are expecting similar products from ZTE and Huawei to be announced later in the week.

The Alcatel is similarly low-end, with a 3.5in screen, 1GHz processor, 512Mb of storage (plus microSD card slot) and a 3.2-megapixel camera.

Mozilla said at MWC that Firefox OS handsets will be available in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela sometime in 2013, with 17 carriers providing the phone.

As for availability in the US and Western Europe, we may be waiting some time. Mozilla has suggested that Firefox phones will arrive here sometime in 2014. 

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