Firefox OS kickstarts battle for the bottom with €39 smartphone

ZTE Open offers a basic smartphone experience that makers hope will challenge Android & Apple

Browser-makers Firefox have begun their challenge to the giants of the mobile industry in earnest with the Spanish launch of a €39 handset.

The ZTE Open has only a 3.5-inch screen, a 1Ghz single-core processor and 256MB of RAM, but Mozilla aren't looking to take over the top-end of the market. Instead they want to go after the still-expanding segment that are moving from feature phones to smartphones for the first time.

The handset actually costs €69 but comes bundled with €30 pay-as-you-go credit and 4GB storage card. Customers can also choose to sign up for a two-year contract, paying €2.38 per month. After its launch in Spain, handset-makers Telefonica will expand to emerging markets, including Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia.

The Open will use Firefox's mobile operating system (Firefox OS), a HTML-based, open-source platform that supports Twitter, Facebook, and Nokia's HERE maps with offline functionality. There is also an "adaptive app search" that Mozilla claims "transforms the phone to meet your needs at any moment":

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

Although Mozilla is aiming at a different market to the current duopoly holders Android and iOS, they'll still need to win favour in similar ways, especially though apps. PCWorld reported on a survey conducted with developers regarding Firefox OS, where 25% of respondents said they were "very interested" in the new platform - way behind the 87% and 78% for iOS and Android respectively.

Despite this, Firefox OS has seen significant support from telecoms, who see the platform as away to wrest power over the mobile market away from Google and Apple. As well as support from Telefonica, carriers Telenor and Deutsche Telekom are also on board, and hoping to spread the platform across Eastern Europe.

"Consumers should not be locked to any one system but have the choice to consume the content they want and the flexibility to be able to take it with them when they change devices," said José María Álvarez-Pallete, Chief Operating Officer of Telefónica. "We believe that smartphones need to be more open and that the Web is the platform for making this possible."

Whilst BlackBerry and Microsoft's struggles have shown how difficult it is to challenge Android and iOS, the backers and fans of Firefox OS believe that by targeting new entrants into the world of smartphones, the company will be able to find a significant toe-hold in the market, dislodging the competition in the process.


Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Partner Manager - EMEA

    £50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partner Manager is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Regional Sales Manager - OTE £100,000

    £45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

    £18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

    £45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

    Day In a Page

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific