Last year, there was news that Mozilla would be the next to release smartphone operating system to take on the currently established mobile OS’s in the market including iOS, Windows Phone and market leader Android. This day has come as the first smartphone to run on Mozilla Firefox OS, a name you probably know very well because of its popular desktop and mobile browser, will be launching tomorrow in Spain.
The cheap Mozilla Firefox smartphone made by ZTE will be launching tomorrow on the Telefonica network and this will be the first step in the introduction of the browser-based open source operating system in a bid to snatch the market from Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system. The ZTE Open phone will be retailing at €69 (approximately $90) which includes €30 worth of pay-as-you-go credit (about $39) but there is a €2.38 monthly charge for those who prefer to sign a 2 year contract rather than buy the phone (that’s about $3.10 per month).
The €69 price is very low compared the price of cheap Android smartphones in the market today, bearing in mind that Android smartphones are probably the cheapest compared to iOS, Windows and Blackberry phones. The specs of the phone are nothing to boast about though. The phone features a 3.5 inch 480 x 320 pixels touchscreen display, a 3.2 megapixels rear camera, 256 MB RAM and 512 MB onboard memory. The phone however comes with a 4 GB microSD memory card.
Based on the specs, it is clear the phone is not intended to win over the hearts of Android, iOS or Windows lovers. Telefonica’s Digital Director of Open Devices agrees, saying that the phone is more of a device to introduce the new mobile operating systems and attract the attention of cost-conscious and curious smartphone buyers.
The Mozilla Firefox OS provides a dynamic app search – which searches content on the web rather than in app stores as it is on the three currently leading smartphone operating systems Android, iOS and Windows Phone OS. It promises a ‘very personalized user experience’ that lets users ‘interact with Web applications on the cloud’. The operating system was developed largely to make the use of smartphones simpler and more streamlined. The Mozilla Firefox OS drew inspiration mostly from Android but it promises to eliminate the complexities and frustrations that apparently Android users have to deal with. From a statement by Telefonica, it appears the Firefox OS is mainly targeted for emerging markets and will be running more on budget and low end smartphones.
Telefonica also says they will be launching another Mozilla Firefox OS Alcatel One Touch Fire in Colombia, Brazil and Venezuela. Telenor, another carrier, is planning on launching a number Firefox OS smartphones in the Central and Eastern regions of Europe later this year and in Poland, Deutsche Telekom is also planning to sell at least one ‘soon’. A number of manufacturers have supported Firefox OS and will be making devices running on the operating system. These include LG and Sony.
Does Firefox OS stand a chance dominated by Android? Only time ill tell.