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ZTE's Firefox OS Phone Already Sold Out on eBay

By - Source: The Register | B 5 comments

That was quick, not as quick as the developer-only phones earlier this year.

On Friday, ZTE made available its Firefox OS-based ZTE Open smartphone to eBay users in both North America and the UK. By Monday, both stores were sold out. The unlocked device came in Orange, and sold for $79.99 USD (£59.99) after previously launching on Telefónica in Spain, Venezuela and Colombia back in July.

"Targeted at the first time smartphone user, Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies," Mozilla said last week. "Users get the performance, personalization and price they want in a smartphone packaged in a beautiful, clean, intuitive and easy-to-use experience."

The phone sports a 3.5 inch multi-touch screen with a 480 x 320 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 single-core SoC clocked at 1 GHz, 256 MB of RAM and 512 MB of internal storage. It also has a microSD card slot supporting up to 32 GB of extra storage, but comes with a 2 GB card already inserted. Other features include dual-band Wireless N and Bluetooth 2.1 EDR connectivity, a 3.2MP camera on the back, stereo FM radio, and a Li-ion 1200 mAh battery.

While the phone seems to be a bit outdated in the hardware department, keep in mind that Firefox OS is based on HTML5, JavaScript and other web-based technologies; it doesn't necessarily need the hardware that's packed behind the newer iOS and Android platforms. It also introduces what Mozilla says is a new concept for smartphones: an adaptive app search that "transforms" the phone to meet the user's needs.

"For example, search for your favorite music artist and get results to buy your favorite song, concert tickets or even listen to your favorite song instantly," Mozilla states. "Making it possible for you to create these one-time use or downloadable apps on demand gives you a completely customized experience and helps you get the exact content you want, when you want it."

Like iOS and Android, Firefox OS comes with its own Marketplace which "unleashes the power of HTML5 apps on mobile." It includes popular apps like AccuWeather, Facebook, Nokia HERE Maps, SoundCloud, Terra, Time Out, TMZ and Twitter, EA games like Poppit, and personally tailored and local apps that will differ by region.

ZTE reportedly only had a set limit of devices it planned to sell on eBay this past Friday. That said, there's no indication of when the company plans to take down the "sold out" sign and resume sales in the U.S. and UK. The phone reportedly didn't sell quite as fast as the initial run of developer-only handsets which were scooped up via Geeksphone in mere hours back in April. Still, a sell-out in three days is impressive to say the least.

At $80, there's no question why anyone would want to invest that kind of change to get their hands dirty with a new, emerging platform based on HTML5. Hopefully, more units will be made available soon.

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  • 1 Hide
    digiex , August 20, 2013 5:26 AM
    Price to usefulness ratio = win.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , August 20, 2013 7:21 AM
    "While the phone seems to be a bit outdated in the hardware department, keep in mind that Firefox OS is based on HTML5, JavaScript and other web-based technologies; it doesn't necessarily need the hardware that's packed behind the newer iOS and Android platforms."

    HTML5, JavaScript, and other web-based technologies benefit greatly from faster processors (and likewise, experience suffers greatly from slower processors). I would be very skeptical that a 1GHz single-core CPU with 256MB of RAM allows for a good smartphone user experience under any circumstance.
  • 0 Hide
    velocityg4 , August 20, 2013 7:24 AM
    Quote:
    "For example, search for your favorite music artist and get results to buy your favorite song, concert tickets or even listen to your favorite song instantly," Mozilla states. "Making it possible for you to create these one-time use or downloadable apps on demand gives you a completely customized experience and helps you get the exact content you want, when you want it."


    Just made me think they could have a real winner if it did automatic torrent searches and connected to the internet through a VPN that keeps no logs. They'd blow Android out of the water. That's probably the only way they could hope to make headway in an entrenched and saturated market.

    I have no idea why the quote is duplicated. I started with qutemsg and ended with /quotemsg
  • 2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , August 20, 2013 9:22 AM
    I'm buying one of these as soon as they get them back in stock. Firefox OS looks to be good (although I'm secretly anticipating Ubuntu Phone more).
  • 1 Hide
    rwinches , August 20, 2013 12:30 PM
    Wait didn't Google already do this with Chrome OS?
    Both are Open Linux based WEBie OSs that run HTML5 WEB apps.

    Oh Firefox OS on a phone I see, my how different, how special.