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ZTE announces Open Firefox OS smartphone, US launch coming in 2014

ZTE has announced the Open, a low-end smartphone that will be one of the first devices to support Mozilla’s web-based Firefox OS. When Mozilla announced that it will launch its own smartphone OS, it noted that it is targeting the feature phone market to begin with, and ZTE is no stranger to such a market.

As expected, the Open’s hardware is below par compared to many devices running Google’s Android—even the low-end ones.  Specifically, the Open will have a Cortex-A5 Qualcomm processor running at 600MHz or 800MHz, 256MB of ROM, 512MB of ROM (expandable), and a, how should we put it, webcam-ish 3.2MP rear camera.  The 3.5-inch display is even less spectacular, with a resolution of 480×320. 

It’s clear where Mozilla is going with all this when we take a glance at the specs.  Devices running Firefox OS are geared toward emerging markets.  However, there are still a lot of obstacles that Mozilla and company must overcome to fully declare Firefox OS a true mobile OS contender.  For instance, Mozilla has to convince developers that its OS is worth taking a look at.  There’s also of course the whole Android thing, and Google’s mobile OS has essentially every niche covered—from high-end devices to ultra-low-end bargain galore.

Still, ZTE is expected to launch its Open Firefox OS smartphone to premium markets like the US by 2014, so perhaps Mozilla is expecting the dev community and users to grow quickly.  As for the cost of the Open, you can expect that it, along with a few other Firefox OS phones, to run for an extremely low, low, price.

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