back to article ZTE's $80 Firefox OS mobe sells out on eBay

If you were hoping to get your hands on ZTE's first Firefox OS phone and you don't live in one of the markets where it was picked up by a mobile carrier, you may be out of luck for now. The Chinese smartphone maker put a limited stock of its new ZTE Open handset up for sale to customers worldwide last Friday, exclusively via …


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  1. Nate Amsden

    less ram than mozilla says firefox needs on android


    Happened to browse to the firefox for android page a short time ago and noticed they wanted 384MB

    "Installation requires about 24 MB internal storage and 384 MB of RAM"

    1. M Gale

      Re: less ram than mozilla says firefox needs on android

      At the same time though, supposedly the browser is the operating system, so doesn't have to fit into RAM alongside the operating system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: less ram than mozilla says firefox needs on android

        No, the OS is the OS. The browser is the application development API.

        Just like Android is Linux with a Java-like virtual machine and libraries.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: less ram than mozilla says firefox needs on android

      There's not going to be multitasking and background services as we know it. Forget push notifications and other stuff. If you have a simper OS you don't need as much RAM.

      1. Cucumber C Face

        256 MB RAM? Luxury!

        Microsoft - scarcely known for their lean creations - in 1995 shipped Windows NT 3.51 which ran very well with 32 MB RAM on less beefy CPUs than smartphones have today. 256 MB was still a fair size for a desktop hard disc. Win NT 3.51 was perfectly capable of running background services and multi-tasking.

        I know it's chalk and cheese but I suggest some perspective is needed.

        1. monkeyfish

          Re: 256 MB RAM? Luxury!

          Sure, but back then people were happy with a grey task-bar, 256 colours, and odd swirly repeating backgrounds. These days you need to put more shiny in the OS.

          1. Haku

            Re: 256 MB RAM? Luxury!

            I actually like a grey task bar, simple, functional, and you know where the corners of buttons are, unlike the Fisher-Price inspired GUI that M$ spat onto default XP and Win7 installs. I have yet to use Win8, don't see the need to 'upgrade' until I'm forced to.

            1. Mark .

              Re: 256 MB RAM? Luxury!

              Actually MS has been moving away from the "fisher price" style of Windows XP (or OS X, come to that) - Windows 7 seems nicer imo, though still flashy. Meanwhile, Windows 8 has done away with the fancy partially-transparent windows altogether, and goes for a much more simpler and functional look for the windows and GUI.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: less ram than mozilla says firefox needs on android

      Yes but that's Firefox for ANDROID not Linux. It presumably needs a lot of crap Java resources to work in Android. It works fine on my 256MB Xubuntu geode - so long as your not watching HD flash through it.

    4. darthmallow

      Re: less ram than mozilla says firefox needs on android

      I got mine on Monday and can confirm that browsing is negatively impacted by the low amount of RAM. Scrolling through moderately complex (mobile) sites becomes jittery towards the bottom of the page. Some sites cause a complete hang of the phone either on the main page or when clicking to any sub page. Engadget actually caused an OS crash when navigating back to the main page. I wonder if it is the case that applications, whether run from a website or locally, implemented using web technologies actually use more resources than applications implemented using more traditional style APIs. If so then the browser as the OS doesn't make sense for the lowest end smartphones.

      An additional browsing problem is that scrolling through partially loaded websites rarely works and even attempting it can cause a hang. You have to wait for the website to completely load. This is a pain over a slow mobile connection and my android phone browser does not suffer from this issue.

      The rest of the phone experience is quite pleasant for something at the low end. It seems to use the same volume for calls and audio, a problem also present in windows phone, and the volume of the FM radio is an order of magnitude louder than the music player.

  2. MattEvansC3

    It's early days but it'll be interesting to see how companies such as ZTE position Firefox manufacturing against landfill Android as this has the potential to kick the legs out from under the Google table.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yep. It definitely has potential.

      All they have to do is quickly knock up turn by turn navigation and street maps that cover most western countries, an app store with a million apps, etc.

      Surely that shouldn't take too long.

      Of course, if you're not interested in any of that stuff, you probably don't need a smartphone.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One word, cheap!

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      That was three words.

  4. Paradroid

    Sell out?!

    Isn't this similar to the Microsoft Surface "sell out" where selling out of fuck-all stock doesn't really count as a sell out?

    1. Piro

      Re: Sell out?!

      But I thought Surface didn't sell out, not even close.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Sell out?!

      No - you confusing Sell Out where all the stock is sold so the customer cant buy any more with Sell Nowt where there was no stock to sell but fortunately the customer didn't want any anyway.

      When it comes back in stock I might buy 2 so I have someone to talk to!

  5. speco

    The American market is Covered

    Carlos Slim's "America Movil" has long since signed on to using Firefox OS on their Prepaid device brands that serve the North American market.

    United States - TracFone Wireless (TracFone, NET10 Wireless, Straight Talk, SafeLink Wireless, SIMPLE Mobile and Telcel América) 21.337 million

    So the statement that there are no carriers signed on in the US isn't exactly correct. Since Prepaid are probably what we'd be expecting for FxOS devices primary market, the US seems fairly well covered. The large carriers will probably follow with higher end devices if the OS catches on beyond the entry level.

  6. Big-nosed Pengie

    I give up...

    What does being "picked up by mobile carriers" have to do with anything? You buy the phone, you buy a SIM, you put the two together and Bob's your aunty's live-in lover.

    1. Dexter

      Re: I give up...

      That's how it works in the UK.

      In the US many mobiles seem to be locked to a particular carrier, so you can't just buy any old SIM.

  7. thomas newton

    @ big nosed pengie

    +1 for the Young Ones reference.

  8. E_Nigma
    Paris Hilton

    Smart or Featurephone

    Isn't this thing more of a featurephone? A device with built software, including a browser which, being HTML5 capable, can interpret and run anything you can put together with HTML5 (pretty much like the mobes of old, capable of running Java apps, only with HTML5 instead of Java)?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Smart or Featurephone

      If it does run a Linux then I imagine it can run any software that will compile for the Arm chip and can be used on a small screen like that. I'd guess that's a huge amount - I've got over 100,000 installed in this laptop and only Wine needs Intel - the rest could be run on the phone it the gui can be made to work usably . I doubt if I'd use it for running eclipse or netbeans but I could resurrect and old curses IDE and get that working. After all it has uSD slot so memory isn't really a problem - just your patience.

      1. E_Nigma

        Re: Smart or Featurephone

        True to a point, but I'm not sure that we understand each other 100%. I'm not interested in what an enthusiast could do with the device, I have a normal buyer and intended use on my mind. So, despite the technological roots, just like I don't see LibreOffice on Play Store (despite the announcement that's now 2 years old), I don't recognize the Linux origins of Firefox OS as any indication on what I'll actually be able to run on it. In short, I'd like to know if an ordinary buyer gets provisions for more than running HTML5 apps within what's essentially a browser engine on these devices?

      2. itzman

        Re: Smart or Featurephone

        I can see a problem. It all depends on whether it uses X windows and a decent toolkit

        If I were Firefox I'd probably ditch X windows and the need for at least 128M of RAM and write a specific interface to the GFX actual hardware.

        X windows was bloated from the word go, and a system so full of potential that it took you a week to write a program just to open up a simple dialogue.

    2. Mark .

      Re: Smart or Featurephone

      But what is the difference between a feature and smart phone? I'd say there isn't one - it's just marketing. Even "dumb phone" is meaningless these days, in an age when even a £20 phone can come with Internet, apps and a QWERTY keyboard.

      I don't see why HTML5 or Java makes something a "feature" phone - Android uses Java and its own VM, after all. A certain phone couldn't even run applications at all, making it more a dumb phone, but was marketed as a smartphone...

  9. Shagbag

    Arrived Today

    Mine arrived today.

    The built quality is pretty good.

    The UI is a not as nippy as my HTC Explorer (600MHz with Gingerbread), but it's not that big a deal and only a troll would offer criticism.

    Despite the low ppi, the small screen size makes the UI look crisp.

    For £59.99 new, I'm happy so far.

    No doubt they'll be trading around £29.99 within 6 months'.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    real numbers please

    Anything else is just marketing propaganda

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: real numbers please = 2000 sold in about 18 hours.

      2000 sold in about 18 hours

      Both the UK and US eBay portals began with one thousand ZTE Open phones at each location.

      The US site began selling at midnight Pacific time (three AM in my Eastern Time zone).

      They both sold out within about eighteen hours of first offer at their respective stores.

      I agree with your sentiment in that. So I kept track of this ZTE Open sale from the start.

      (for my own comparison purposes.)

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Soon a well know for pedantic and self-importance reporter will TM some depreciative term for the miriade of cheap Firefox OS devices, because we need quality choice on the mobile platform available on the market, so long the options come from Redmond :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AO-- "myPhones" ?

      Or the opposite scenario, where they are given a name indicative of their strongest point.

      Let's call them "myPhones" to indicate that the purchasers might actually have full ownership and control over these Firefox OS devices.

      Contrary to Apple's "iPhones" who turned the rent-to-own model upside-down to an own-to-rent model (you'll never have full ownership and control of an iPhone--at any age or price).

      Or Android's offerings that you must turn off half of the device's features to get any privacy. GPS/ A-GPS only works if you allow Google's tracking microscope up your backside.

      Whether devices with Firefox OS will address all or any of these issues remains to be seen. But in the very least, their software/security update model appears to come from a sane and rational base.

      1. Ian Watkinson

        Re: AO-- "myPhones" ?

        "(you'll never have full ownership and control of an iPhone--at any age or price)."

        As in how old the phone is, or how old you are? This amongs other things are not clear in your post.

        My old 3G is mine. I can do what I like for it. If at somepoint I want to go to the effort of writing an OS for it I can.

        At this point I'm not paying apple any money for it, so it's certainly not rental.

        I've got two or more app stores on it, so that's ok too. (I know android has hundreds, but that's not always good, is it now aptoide)

        What more control can I want? I can make phone calls when I want, I get email when I want, I can crush the phone if I want. That's pretty much full control.

        Plus it runs ios, how do I get control of my Nexus 4 and control is to do that? or are you confusing custom roms for different OS's?

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  13. detritus


    I have tiny, almost effeminate hands, which've spent decades typing on all manner of interfaces and I'll be damned if I can use this thing.

    Very frustrating.

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