ZTE to start selling ZTE Open Firefox OS smartphones in the US and UK Friday

Later this week, US and UK residents will finally be able to purchase the first smartphone that runs on Mozilla's HTML5-based Firefox OS, the ZTE Open. The phone, which launched in July in Spain and other parts of Europe, will go on sale via eBay in the US and UK on Friday.

ZTE's press release states that the price of the ZTE Open in the US will be $79.99, with the UK's price set at £59.99. Both the UK and US versions will be sold with an orange color and will be unlocked so they can be used on a variety of wireless carriers with no contracts. The Friday, August 16th launch date is a rather large change on the Firefox OS road map compared to what Mozilla announced earlier this year, when it said that US residents would have to wait until 2014 to get their first Firefox OS smartphone.

When the ZTE Open was first announced in February, it showed that it was a rather low end device on the hardware side with a 3.5 inch display, a single core processor, just 256 MB of RAM and a 3.2 megapixel rear camera. It will be interesting to see if the phone's low price with no contracts will attract US and UK smartphone buyers.

Source: ZTE | Image via ZTE

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21 Comments

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Trollercoaster said,
Hard to complain for $80.

Here's hoping its good. I'd hate for the platform to get a bad name early on. Hopefully we'll have more diversity in the smartphone market rather than less.

When they say US, does that also include Canada? It's pretty confusing when info comes in like this and news sites don't say NA(North America).

Cryton said,
For £60 I might just get one to play around with.

Haha play around with? With 256MB RAM it's not likely to be able to do all that much.

Considering you can get a Nokia Lumia 520 for an extra £30 this isn't a great deal. 4" screen, better resolution, double the ram, more powerful APU, 6GB extra storage and a better camera.

This phone is basically like a HTC wildfire which is a spare phone I have, it's actually got double the ram and the same APU but it's really slow and laggy. Unless Firefox OS is much more efficient that Android 2.2.1 this phone will be a pain to use by today's standards.

Gaffney said,
This phone is basically like a HTC wildfire which is a spare phone I have, it's actually got double the ram and the same APU but it's really slow and laggy. Unless Firefox OS is much more efficient that Android 2.2.1 this phone will be a pain to use by today's standards.

IIRC, Android 2.* was supposed to be poorly optimized, and Google has done a lot of work in 3.* and 4.* to make it more efficient. Its possible that it could work nicely, although I'm not sure I'll have super high expectations of what it'll actually be able to do compared to Android.

Windows Phone runs nicely on light hardware, but it doesn't truly multitask like Android, and makes use of the GPU. Smooth running on low hardware is doable, but there'll be tradeoffs...

Gaffney said,
Considering you can get a Nokia Lumia 520 for an extra £30 this isn't a great deal.
You can get the Nokia Lumia 520 without an Internet plan/huge monthly fee?

what is reasonable price anyway? You can buy unlocked phone provided that you pay $600... If you want subsidy, contract is the way to go. People in Europe pay more than 600 USD, so the price in US is quite reasonable.
Do I want it cheaper? you bet, but that's the reality.

Well,
People here in the US are still under the misconception that their phone doesn't cost the as much if they get one via contract. You can try making the math for them, they still won't believe you.

Cell phone contracts are for suckers. People need to wake up. Why would I sign a legally binding contraact to use a PHONE? Actually, the only contract I'll sign is a mortgage. The rest can go to h...

ThunderRiver said,
what is reasonable price anyway? You can buy unlocked phone provided that you pay $600... If you want subsidy, contract is the way to go. People in Europe pay more than 600 USD, so the price in US is quite reasonable.
Do I want it cheaper? you bet, but that's the reality.

You can get a subsidy though but there is a lot more transparency between the cost of the phone, the cost of the contract and how much of a subsidy you get. Case in point where I am you get all that information up front and in many cases you find people signing up for high tariff plans because of the free phone only to never use all the minutes/texts/data that comes with it because all they see is the $0 price tag.

Tumultus said,
Well,
People here in the US are still under the misconception that their phone doesn't cost the as much if they get one via contract. You can try making the math for them, they still won't believe you.

Mm.. you are assuming that you end up paying up the whole cost of the phone as part of your monthly bill. For me, with corporate discount, I pay roughly $60 a month to AT&T with or without contract (iPhone + 2Gb LTE data, the base talk plan without txt). So if I don't go with contract, I end up paying $600+ for a device, and if I go with contract, I can get as low as $120-ish (don't remember the exact price I paid at Fry's).

So in my case, I am not getting any special benefits by getting the phone off-contract, because I am still paying the same amount of monthly charge.

COKid said,
Cell phone contracts are for suckers. People need to wake up. Why would I sign a legally binding contraact to use a PHONE? Actually, the only contract I'll sign is a mortgage. The rest can go to h...

Well, close to $400 is big enough savings for me to stay within contract.

ThunderRiver said,

Well, close to $400 is big enough savings for me to stay within contract.

Some supporting math behind the $400
With AT&T, I currently have iPhone 5, 2GB LTE data, 450 Min talk with rollover, state+city tax/fees and corporate discount, it comes down to $60 a month (most of the time it is more like $58.9x dollars)
I bought iPhone 5 at Fry's with its promotional discount at the time, close to $120.
I also got the activation charge waived from AT&T
In the span of 24 months, the math would be $120+(24 * $60) = $1560
Now, I pay the same monthly charge even if I bought an unlocked device, so the saving is close to $500 (assuming unlocked iPhone 5 is around $649.99).

With AIOWireless (under AT&T), you get iPhone 5 for $649.99
I believe their popular smart phone plan is $55 per month, which includes "unlimited" data & voice.
For 24 month, you end up with $649.99+(24* $55) = 1969.99
That's still $400+ more expensive than staying with AT&T contract.