Earlier in the year, Mozilla, the non-profit organisation behind the open-source Firefox web browser announced it would be developing a mobile operating system.
Originally, the company had stated that the low-end device – targeting emerging markets – would not be reaching the UK until some time next year. But now it seems the phone will be coming to the UK in just a couple of weeks.
ZTE, the Chinese telecommunications company which is producing the phone, said the Open Firefox OS would be available via the company’s eBay stores, bypassing carriers.
The new device, The Open, will retail for £59.99 in the UK and $79.99 in the US. The SIM-free handset will come unlocked and is completely web-based, so users do not need to download and install apps.
In terms of specs, The One will come with a 3.5-inch screen, 1GHz processor, 3.2-megapixel camera and 512MB of integrated storage.
According to Mozilla, the OS will help create new open web standards on mobile thanks to its HTML5 basis. The company says the HTML5 development standards will allow the OS to run any application made using the code language, letting developers release and sell their services for Firefox OS outside of the official Firefox Marketplace.
The HTML5 basis of Firefox OS has already proven a hit with several developers, with the OS confirmed to support popular applications like AccuWeather, several EA games, Facebook, Nokia HERE Maps, SoundCloud, Terra, Time Out, TMZ and Twitter.
“It is great honour to launch the ZTE Open Firefox OS phone worldwide through eBay”, Dai Wenhong, ZTE’s vice president, claimed of the move. “ZTE is devoted to providing more options for customers globally and enabling them to live better lives via advanced technology. The ZTE Open offers customers a smartphone experience at an incredible price point, making it ideal for cost conscious consumers or those looking to upgrade to a smartphone for the first time.”
While the phone’s low price and open platforms may give it an advantage in some areas of the market place, it remains to be seen whether it is capable of taking on the iOS, Android and Microsoft operating systems.
The eBay listings for the handset have yet to go live, with ZTE expected to launch the device on the site in the coming weeks.
The Open Firefox OS has already been launched in Spain, Venezuela and Colombia on the Telefónica network.