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article imageWorld debut of Firefox 'ZTE Open' smartphone happens in Spain

By Anne Sewell     Jul 4, 2013 in Technology
Madrid - In a world first, consumer sales of the smartphone powered by the Firefox operating system have launched in Spain. Mozilla joined with Spain's Telefónica and the Chinese company ZTE to launch the new handset.
The new Firefox phone, named ZTE Open, went on sale on Tuesday and runs on a Firefox system developed by the Mozilla Foundation, an organization that campaigns for open development of the online world.
Costing €69 ($90), the new phone enters a market dominated by Apple and Google whose iOS and Android programs are in 90 percent of smartphones.
Telefónica's Chief Operating Officer José María Álvarez Palette said in a statement:
“We believe that smartphones need to be more open and that the Web is the platform for making this possible. 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. This week marks a key turning point for the industry as we launch the first commercial Firefox OS devices in Spain. This is just the beginning as we bring Firefox OS to more and more of our markets across an expanding range of smartphones.”
The company reportedly plans to sell Firefox OS devices in other markets, including Venezuela and Colombia, in the "coming weeks."
Dai Wenhong, VP of ZTE Corporation said:
“We are honored to partner with Telefónica and Mozilla to launch our first Firefox OS phone, the ZTE Open. Packed with powerful features, it’s totally a new experience for smartphone users. As one of the top five smartphone manufacturers in the world, ZTE is devoted to provide more options for global customers and let everyone enjoy splendid life via advanced technology.”
Deutsche Telekom will also be getting involved in the project and Claudia Nemat, Board member for Europe and Technology stated on Mozilla's website:
“We are excited that with the upcoming launch in Poland Deutsche Telekom is leading the go to market for the Firefox OS mobile device.”
“The launch of the first Firefox smartphones in Europe is an important step on the way to more innovation and to more competition between the different ecosystems. We rely on open platforms because we want to create freedom of choice on behalf of our customers.”
According to Mozilla chief operating officer Jay Sullivan, the new phone would stimulate a "new wave of innovation for the web".
About the smartphone:
The ZTE Open has a 3.5-inch 480x320-pixel touchscreen, 3.2MP camera, 256MB RAM, and 512MB flash memory boosted with an included 4GB microSD card. The phone has calendar, camera, email, FM radio, messaging, Nokia mapping and the Firefox browser.
According to Telefónica, the ZTE Open is the first of a series of Firefox OS devices to be launched this year.
While the initial online reviews of the phone are mixed, most of them did admire the low price, especially in the current economic crisis. With current youth unemployment at 56.4 percent, and overall unemployment at nearly 27 percent as of May 2013, affordable options are always welcome.
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