Mozilla will officially enter into the smartphone business July 2 when the first phone running the Firefox OS hits markets in Spain. The ZTE Open, distributed by the Telefónica, will run Firefox OS and be the first device completely powered by Web technologies.
The ZTE Open will be released with a 3.5-inch touch screen, a 3.2-megapixel camera and a 4 GB micro SD card. Telefónica will sell the ZTE Open powered by Firefox OS for 69 Euros (about $90), and will include 30 Euros worth of credits for pre-paid customers.
“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,” Luis Miguel Gilpérez, the CEO of Telefónica España, said in a statement. “The first open web device marks a significant milestone in making this possible.”
Deutsche Telekom also has plans to bring Firefox OS phones to the rest of Europe, starting in Poland, but hasn’t set an exact date. Both companies will also sell the Alcatel One Touch Fire, the second phone to run Firefox OS that has nearly identical specs to the ZTE Open.
Firefox OS has all of the standard smartphone features like calling, messaging, email, camera and native Facebook and Twitter integration. It also comes with HERE Maps that can provide walking, driving and public transit directions offline. Of course, Firefox OS will also come with the Firefox Web browser.
Firefox OS comes with an “adaptive app search” that Mozilla says will make the phone transform to fit a user’s needs at any moment.
“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 said in a press release.
Mozilla is also bringing the HTML5 apps in the Firefox Marketplace to the Firefox OS phones. With an already extensive catalogue of games, news, music and business apps for the Firefox browser, the Firefox Marketplace will help the phones compete with Android and iOS devices.
Firefox has more than 20 hardware and operator partners. If the first Firefox OS phones are successful, it could pave the way for many more Firefox OS devices.
Originally from Northern California, Ryan W. Neal came to New York to earn his master's in journalism from Columbia University. He joined IB Times April 2013, and is a writer...