back to article ZTE to flog Firefox OS mobe worldwide via eBay

Chinese mobile maker ZTE has announced plans to sell a smartphone running the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox OS worldwide via online auction site eBay. The company said the orange-colored version of the ZTE Open would go on sale "soon" for $79.99 on eBay's US site and £59.99 in the UK, though no specific date was given. "The …


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  1. Arachnoid


    It hardly get the loins pining and puts modesty in the shade

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lackluster

      For $80 you expect to be wowed? This isn't really intended for the US or UK market, it will do fine for that part of the world for whom an iPhone 5 or Galaxy S4 may cost the better part of their yearly income.

      The thing that will determine the long term success of Firefox OS is if its system requirements are lower than that a 2.x version of Android, allowing for lower priced phones. Microsoft also isn't extorting money out of makers of FIrefox OS phones, though if they succeed they may try the same trick...

      If the Firefox guys are smart it won't support vFAT and similar stuff that Microsoft has successfully asserted patent rights over previously. They can leave that to third party apps who can come and go like gophers popping their heads up faster than Microsoft can knock them down :)

    2. Zola

      Re: Lackluster

      It hardly get the loins pining and puts modesty in the shade

      True, but for a weekend or "party phone" (one you won't mind too much losing/smashing/having stolen) it's probably ideal.

      Also, not everyone is turned on by expensive high-end hardware, but may want more than a regular feature phone can offer (eg. email and web on the move) in which case the ZTE could be just the ticket.

      What is welcome to see is ZTE going it alone when the operators/carriers turn their noses up. The operators are not the be-all and end-all - certainly not at this end of the market.

      1. frank ly

        @Zola Re: Lackluster

        If you want a weekend/party phone, there are lots of cheap unlocked ones to choose from on e-bay, especially if you're used to Android and don't want the hassle of learning how to use a new phone OS. I bought my first two Android phones on e-bay and they are both still working fine.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Big Brother

          Re: @Zola Lackluster

          "I bought my first two Android phones on e-bay and they are both still working fine."

          That's fine if you want an NSA spy in your pocket. For me and millions of others the Mozilla or Ubuntu is the only option for a smart phone. I want a phone that isn't rammed with malware and doesn't let the State spy on everything I do.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Zola Lackluster

            That's all well and good, but remember Finspy and the whole Firefox malware bit....

            I think these days every product is monitored remotely in some form or another, it really comes down to which government you'd rather have accessing your device.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lackluster

      eBay always was the home of cheapo copycat crap...

    4. nigel 15

      Re: Lackluster

      I had a feeling someone would say something like that.

      I opened the comments section to confirm my suspicion of asshattery.

  2. Fihart

    Not that cheap.

    Price is same as T Mobile version of ZTE Crescent 18 months ago and that price included £20worth of internet use.

    The new phone's hardware is doubtless better and will be unlocked, though the case looks cheaper.

    But one is being asked to take a spin on an unproven OS.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it really a smartphone or is it a feature phone with a web browser to run apps? pretty much like iPhone 1.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is it really a smartphone or is it a feature phone

      Marketing distinction only. Is Android only a feature phone with a Java interpreter to run apps, and a web browser?

      I could argue (unconvincingly) it is only a smartphone if I can write a program in my language of choice, install and run it with minimal inconvenience. On that basis the current fruity product is only a "feature phone". The distinction between the two, feature and smart, is controlled by a slider whose position depends on the argument you want to support.

      1. andreas koch
        Thumb Up

        @ ribosome - Re: Is it really a smartphone or is it a feature phone

        You convinced me; at long last someone with a clever view of the "how to market technology rap".

    2. Mark .

      The iphone 2007 couldn't run 3rd party apps at all (and hence wasn't a smart/feature phone, but a dumb phone). This can, so is a smart phone (as someone else says, the difference between feature and smart is just marketing) - that the language is HTML5 isn't really relevant, as long as the user can install applications similar to other smart phones.

  4. Richard Boyce

    A step backwards in value

    I bought a ZTE Blade 3 as my first smartphone from Virgin for £80 including £10 credit. It's locked to Virgin, of course, but the phone's specs are much better than the Open, with a 4" 800x480 screen and it runs Android 4.0.

    I don't see how the Open can reasonably compete with ZTE's current products in the UK without a price reduction.

    1. keep-it-calm-or-more

      Re: A step backwards in value

      Well that's the trickery there. the "80 quid" virgin locked phone doesn't cost 80 quid, it costs far more that you make up with monthly payments.

      If the firefox phone is kept up to date with software updates it will certainly kick the ass of similarly priced android phones which all run some 2.x version of android (and have security flaws that have existed and been abused for years already).

  5. Mage Silver badge

    In Black?

    Is this real then?

    1. thomas k.

      Re: In Black?

      I dunno. As someone who likes minimalist black that looks pretty frumpy; with the orange, at least, people won't *not* see you using it (though perhaps not to the same extent as the bright yellow Lumias).

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a phone, it's not an iPhone, it's not a Windows phone

    And it's got much less blatant Googleware than even a rooted Android.

    I want one please.

    Anybody else?

    I especially want one if there's an SDK.

    1. RyokuMas

      Re: It's a phone, it's not an iPhone, it's not a Windows phone

      "I especially want one if there's an SDK."

      With an HTML-based OS, I have a nasty feeling that it will mean javascript - which means I for one won't be going anywhere near it.

      1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

        Re: It's a phone, it's not an iPhone, it's not a Windows phone

        "With an HTML-based OS, I have a nasty feeling that it will mean javascript - which means I for one won't be going anywhere near it."

        I grew up writing assembler and moved on to C++. You're living in the past.

        The language has some shortcomings, but the worst features are being ironed out in ECMAScript 6. They're even going to accommodate people who can't get their heads round prototype-based inheritance.

        On a desktop, well tuned js is only 2-3 times slower than native code. (Although it can be worse on old Android; and on the iPhone, where Apple refuses to let apps use Nitro.) And if you need more speed there is WebGl or WebCL (again currently absent on mobile, unless you're writing Ads on the iPhone). There's even asm.js to compile into native code.

        Get in and start learning your way round now. HTML5 is going to come to pass.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    will include no local or carrier-specific apps or features.


  8. darren.b

    "With specs like those, the ZTE Open is hardly going to give the next iPhone a run for its money. "

    It's not supposed to. Nor the Samsung S4, the HTC One etc etc that you forgot to compare it to.


  9. heyrick Silver badge


    A phone that isn't stuffed with operator crapware that you can't uninstall.

    I think what will make or break this is "app" support, namely, is this going to be a high end feature phone (does what it says on the tin and nothing else) or a low end smartphone (can do stuff the user wants to do). Apps for streaming radio (the CPU is okay for that), SCP/telnet, (okay, spot the nerd!), useful stuff - if not processor-intensive video and/or games.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm...

      "Apps for streaming radio (the CPU is okay for that), SCP/telnet, (okay, spot the nerd!), useful stuff - if not processor-intensive video and/or games."

      VNC? (geek here too). What connectivity has this thing got?

      Angry Birds etc with in-app purchasing is not a major factor for me.

      Is there a market for the ARM-based phone equivalent of a Raspberry Pi, with a community of followers many of them contributing in their own way?

      Is this a seed in that market?

    2. Mark .

      Re: Hmmm...

      I don't really understand your distinction between feature and smart - does this mean an iphone is a feature phone, because of the limitations? Maybe it is - I think that's a far argument - though unfortunately most the media are using a different definitions, making the distinction between the terms fairly meaningless.

      (Unless you mean apps, but then that's not a distinction, as "feature" phones have had 3rd party apps from 2004 or earlier.)

  10. Barry Rueger

    Suits Me Fine

    I'm still running fine with my much battered Nexus S. I've been shopping for a new phone, but just can't see spending hundreds of dollars for a marginal improvement in utility.

    I'd give this a go with no problem. If it will do Gmail, Twitter, and has a decent GPS, I'm in.

    Does though raise the question why big name phones are running $500-700 when ZTE can sell this for under a hundred bucks....

  11. streeeeetch

    Huawei G300

    Buy one from Argos for £70 and get it unlocked on Ebay for £3.95. Much better deal.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And another nail is added to Nokia's coffin

    And now Nokia no longer has to fight only the cheap androids for the low price market... With most lumia sales in the bottom of the market (apparently the 520 is their best seller) a fast, cheap competitor, which doesn't "phone home" to Microsoft/NSA is likely to be very bad news for Nokia.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And another nail is added to Nokia's coffin

      Seeing as Nokia Lumia sales are growing over 30% quarter on quarter (and WP just hit 10% UK market share), a yet-another-freetard-phone being sold on eBay is unlikely to worry them too much.....

    2. Mark .

      Re: And another nail is added to Nokia's coffin

      It's competition, but hardly a nail. More of a nail for Apple, who have no ability to compete at the lower end (other than selling old out of date products), if that's where the market moves in future.

      Your logic is also plain confusing - Nokia are doing well in one area, so therefore this is a nail in the coffin? Surely the argument would be if they were doing badly in that area. I mean, Samsung are doing well at the high end, so by your logic, it's a nail in their coffin if someone else releases a high end phone?

  13. Captain Hogwash

    Does rather look like... of Jacques Cousteau's zodiacs.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Does rather look like...

      You say that like it's a bad thing.

      1. Captain Hogwash

        Re: Does rather look like...

        I meant it as a compliment.

  14. mark l 2 Silver badge

    It has a better cpu than the original ZTE blade (orange san fran) but with only 256 mb ram but if firefox OS is more efficient than Android with RAM it may be responsive enough. And the cpu should handle standard definition video without a problem.

    I think for it to be a success in the UK they need to get it into the supermarkets and drop the price by another £10 and maybe offer other colours other than orange.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. Zola

    Dalvik vs. ASM.js vs. Native

    Surprising results.

    And with the ZTE priced to compete with Landfill Android, it should at least be able to hold its own in terms of performance, and maybe even better. Now it just needs a few more apps - hopefully developers will see the value in developing for HTML5, it's incredibly easy to create and deploy, and should run on pretty much anything with a decent browser.

  17. Old Used Programmer

    Hmmm.... If it has functions like the ability to write and store notes (text files) and a calendar/appointment function, it has the potential to do the job of a PDA for those that don't *want* a "smart phone".

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At that price

    It would make a good burner.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a more general phenomenon around here

    First the featurephone was commoditised. Now the tablet and the smartphone are being commoditised. Everybody in the West who thinks an iPhone gives them status probably now has one.

    The car industry has gone the same way, at least around here. Once BMWs and Mercs were status symbols. Now they are just companymobiles and the driveways of my neighbours are full of them, with the odd 911 and a sprinkling of Audi TTs and the like. They no longer convey status to normal people.

    The Kia Picanto is a cheap, small, low performance but reliable and robust city car. They are around in increasing numbers even though there is no local Kia dealer. You even see them with personalised number plates. They get the job done, it's no big deal if they get a bit bent, and they seem to have become classless, a replacement for the old Morris Minor if you like.

    In effect, the snobbery situation reverses, from "look at me, I have a 5 series/iPhone therefore I have status", to "look at me, I can drive around in a cheap car/use a cheap phone because everyone knows I have status".

    I think that in the more educated parts of the world we may have reached this tipping point.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Might eat into the Windows Phone landfill

    but that's about it.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HTML5 as the programming environment?

    is the presentation layer really the only bit that matters?

    Or is there more to Firefox OS than that?

    I've worked with OSes from Unix V7 to Linux V(random) and VMS too, so I'm not looking for a dummies guide, but a recommendation of an intro to Firefox OS for people who understand OSes (from the outside) would be most welcome, thank you please.

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