The fanfare surrounding the launch of the Firefox mobile operating system was decidedly muted. The existence of established platforms like Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Window’s Mobile, and Blackberry’s BB operating systems meant that it was difficult to see room for a new entrant. However, the open source nature of Firefox meant that there was a glimmer of hope.
ZTE were the first to launch a phone running the new system and even this pointed to a reserved and cautious release. The handset would be budget and, arguably worse still, seemingly orange.
ZTE did little to improve hope. They announced that the phone would only be sold via Ebay, perhaps indicating that they didn’t want to risk the potential cost of a physical launch.
However, the phone has now sold out on the official Ebay pages, according to ZTE. The handset cost $80 off contract and this certainly improved buyers’ desire. In the UK the phone cost £59.99 putting it right at the bottom end of the budget market and meaning that the handset would appeal to those that didn’t want to spend hundreds and hundreds on the likes of the iPhone or the Galaxy from Samsung.
The phone itself has a 3.5” screen as well as a 3.2mp camera. It is powered by a 1GHz processor and, happily, it wasn’t only available in Orange with white and black versions being available when there were actually any handsets at all to be found.
The fact that the phone sold out in a matter of days is not necessarily a sign of massive demand. In both the US and UK, less than 1,000 models were made available. However, as far as a test run goes, it does show that there may be room for another operating system, and that is really what the release was about.
In terms of the operating system, most consider it to be somewhere between iOS and Android. The home screen is clean and apps are built on HTML5 which means that compatibility should not prove an issue in too many cases. The OS itself is web based, meaning that the phone will operate more like a Chromebook, and it is believed that many buyers were looking at the phone for development purposes rather than as an entry to the smartphone market, which ZTE were aiming for.