Although Mozilla doesn't expect Firefox OS phones to officially launch in the US until next year, consumers who want to buy one there will be able to do so starting this Friday. The Firefox Phone seems to be moving faster than expected.
ZTE has announced that its Open in Orange phone is shortly to be available exclusively on eBay US and UK in a version that will be unlocked ti allow use on all mobile networks.
This low cost phone, which has already launched through Telefonica in Spain and Venezuela in a blue version and in Columbia in black. It is targeted at first-time smartphone users and the Open in Orange is priced at at $79.99 (£59.99). The phone is open and can be used on any network - just add a SIM.
The hardware isn't amazing but it is very good value: 1GHz single core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 3.5-inch TFT display with resolution of 480 x 320, 256MB of RAM, 512MB ROM and microSD expansion up to 32GB. It also doesn't cut any corners on sensors - accelerometer, ambient light, GPS/AGPS, Bluetooth 2.1, a 3.15-megapixel camera and WiFi. Never mind using it as a phone it is attractive as a device for embedded use.
It also has all the standard functions expected from a smartphone – calls, messaging, email, camera app – plus built-in social integration with Facebook and Twitter and location-based services like Nokia HERE maps which include local transit and traffic information.
The key feature, however, is the Firefox Web browser and the Firefox Marketplace which already has apps for eBay; Badoo; Terra; KAYAK; The Weather Channel; TMZ; AOL; Wikipedia; CNNMoney; Huffington Post; TIME; Facebook; Airbnb; Time Out; Twitter and SoundCloud.
Commenting on ZTE's move to sell on eBay, Dr. Li Gong, Mozilla Senior VP of Mobile Devices said:
“Mozilla is dedicated to moving the Web forward as a platform for innovation and building products that people love. We are pleased that now we will put the full power of the Web in even more people’s hands. With a great potential user base, we know that even more developers around the world will create their apps with new APIs to stimulate an inspiring new wave of innovation.”
As far as developers are concerned getting the Firefox phone into the hands of more consumers faster than expected is an impetus to develop for it.