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August 20, 2013

ZTE Open Firefox OS Device Quickly Sells Out on eBay

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Mozilla (News - Alert) has been, appropriately, pretty open about its mobile strategy. Firefox OS has been well detailed by the company for quite some time now, and the average user could even get his or her hands on a virtual preview through the Firefox desktop browser. The only real mystery in the Firefox OS equation, in fact, has been the hardware and, even in that area, there have been some clues.

For example, it’s been known for close to a year now that Chinese telecommunications company and smartphone manufacturer ZTE would be producing the first commercial Firefox OS device. Called the ZTE (News - Alert) Open, this device was designed to match its operating system’s low-end approach with barebones hardware, sold for cheap.

There has been some doubt as to how successful this approach could be, as the low-end smartphone space is already addressed by Android (News - Alert) devices. That said, recent data from ABI Research expects low-cost devices to make up nearly half of smartphone shipments as of 2018, so maybe a second option can make do.

This was recently supported when the ZTE Open became available in small quantities via eBay (News - Alert) in North America and the U.K. The devices were sold out in a weekend.

This may not seem impressive considering the limited number available and the $80 price point, but it definitely shows there’s interest in Firefox OS. In fact, the initial run of developer preview handsets made by Geeksphone also sold out very quickly earlier this year.

These sales figures have likely made Mozilla even more confident in its new platform. Indeed, an official statement from the company seemed positive and touted Firefox OS’ unique use of Web technologies.

"Targeted at the first time smartphone user, Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies," said Mozilla. "Users get the performance, personalization and price they want in a smartphone packaged in a beautiful, clean, intuitive and easy-to-use experience."

Edited by Alisen Downey
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