Firefox phone to debut with Spanish wireless carrier Telefonica

July 1, 2013 at 7:51 PM
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., July 1 (UPI) -- Spanish carrier Telefonica says it is releasing the first smartphone running the Firefox operating system from Mozilla.

Telefonica will begin selling the inexpensive ZTE Open phone with Firefox OS in Spain Tuesday, CNET reported.

The launch will be the first salvo in a campaign by Mozilla, based in Mountain View, Calif., to crack the hold on the smartphone market shared by Apple and Google.

The phone, with its open-source, browser-based operating system, will sell for $90 including $39 of pay-as-you-go credit.

Users who choose to sign a two-year contract with Telefonica will pay just $3.10 a month for service.

With a 3.5-inch, 480x320-pixel touch screen, 3.2MP camera, 256MB RAM, and 512MB flash memory with an included 4GB microSD card, the ZTE Open is not likely to appeal to smartphone power users.

But that's all right, Yotam Benami, Telefonica director of open Web services, said -- it's more for new and cost-conscious smartphone buyers.

"The entire user experience is more simple and streamlined," he said.

"Many users are frustrated with the complexities of Android," he said, adding low cost and long battery life will be marketing strengths in emerging markets.

Telefonica plans to introduce similar low-end phones running Firefox OS in Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, Benami said.

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