First Phone with Firefox OS 1.3 Hits Ebay Priced at $100

Mozilla was at CES in Las Vegas in January and had a very prominent presence at MWC. The company hit Barcelona with a giant Firefox booth and all of the Firefox OS phones that have been produced so far. Also on show was the new ZTE Open C, a follow on to last year's ZTE Open. Unfortunately, at the time, the device wasn't yet available, and Mozilla couldn't tell us when North Americans would be able to purchase the Firefox OS smartphone for themselves. That changed this week when ZTE made its Firefox OS phone available to folks in the U.S., UK, and other territories via eBay.

Under the hood, the ZTE Open C boasts a 4-inch 800 x 480 touchscreen display and packs a dual-core 1.2 GHz CPU. It also has 512 MB of RAM, a 3-megapixel camera, 4 GB of on board storage, and (of course) Mozilla's own Firefox OS. Firefox OS is built on a Linux kernel and utilizes B2G (Boot to Gecko), meaning apps developed on the phone can be entirely built on HTML5, JavaScript and any other open source web application APIs. Phones running Firefox OS also ship with Firefox Marketplace, Mozilla's own app market, as well as built-in social features via Facebook and Twitter, and HERE Maps complete with offline capabilities and smart walking, driving and public transit directions.

The ZTE Open C actually ships with Firefox OS 1.3, which was just announced yesterday and includes several new features. They include dual-SIM dual-standby support for continuous autofocus and flash, access to music controls from the notification tray, support for transferring multiple Bluetooth files simultaneously, and various performance enhancements (such as better scrolling and faster app startups). For developers, Firefox OS 1.3 brings NFC enablers, support for WebGL, asm.js and WebAudio, and several new WebAPIs via Gecko 28.

The ZTE Open went on sale last year also through eBay (as well as through certain carriers in Europe). This model is a little bit more expensive at $100 but, as you can probably tell by the specs, this is not a high-end phone. ZTE is hoping to provide cost conscious consumers more options when shopping for their first smartphone.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • alextheblue
    Smart move using HERE services. As for the rest? It's got to compete with entry-level Lumia models, which means it's got stiff competition. I'd be curious to see how it performs with games, using WebGL or similar. Not that everyone uses their phone for such things.
  • nebun
    junk hardware
  • wurkfur
    I have a better idea. Why does't Mozilla go have a strong word with itself after all the Brendan Eich turmoil. People should be able to think and believe what they want to believe without fear. That's what America was founded upon, but the current political regime doesn't support. Eat junk food , I'll use another alternative and there are plenty of options.

    Masked bad language amended courtesy of Saga Lout. Keep it clean please, folks.
  • Someone Somewhere
    People were using another alternative; that's why the board kicked him out. Follow the wishes of your customers, and all that.

    Or should people not be allowed to vote with their feet?
  • T-Bag
    Still has a long way to go and has every possibility to get rejected because of the Android and iOS frenzy all over the world.
  • Darkk
    I can understand why Mozilla went with so so spec'd hardware to see what the market will react with the new OS. Why dump alot of money on hardware if it's gonna be a flop. It doesn't make sense to invest the entire company on a single product to see if it'll either be a success or failure. Especially in today's economy.
  • Gaidax
    100$ for those specs is a very attractive price, makes it a great phone for light users like your senior relatives and emerging markets.
  • Haravikk
    100$ for those specs is a very attractive price, makes it a great phone for light users like your senior relatives and emerging markets.
    Agreed, if this had been available last year when I bought my Android phone, I'd have snapped it up in an instant. Not that I'm particularly unhappy with my Android phone, but for the price these specs are actually very good; their aim is clearly not to compete with the firmly established high-end phones just yet, and it's the smart move, as a good value mid-range phone should help them carve a niche before they expand.
  • rantoc
    The right time to introduce a new OS is now, android been out long and have a big market share enough to get some nasty attention (malware) and apple have lost its touch. On the desktop-side MS have forsaken its users for their miniscule market-share on the phones / pads.

    So yeah, the right time is now!
  • The3monitors
    This is perfect to get my mom an entry level into smartphone services. She is technically umm unfit.