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China's ZTE launches Firefox phones

13 August 2013, 09:45

Washington - Chinese telecom giant ZTE announced plans on Monday to sell a low-cost smartphone using the open source Firefox operating system in the United States and Britain.

ZTE said its Open Firefox OS phone will be sold through eBay in the US for $79.99 and £59.99 pounds in Britain.

The phone, unlocked to allow use on a variety of mobile networks, uses the open source Firefox operating platform from the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, which is aiming to break the dominance of Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

"The global availability of the ZTE Open through eBay means that more consumers worldwide are now able, for the first time, to buy an affordable smartphone based entirely on open web standards," the Chinese firm said in a statement.

"The ZTE Open is powered by Firefox OS, which frees developers, operators and consumers from the constraints of existing closed ecosystems by using the web as the platform for all functionality and applications."

The statement said sales would begin "soon", without elaborating.

ZTE vice president Dai Wenhong said the company "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."

The phone offered for US and British consumers is orange in color, while a blue version has been on sale in Spain and Venezuela and a black version in Colombia.

In June, Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision said it aims to hire up to 3 000 new employees to develop devices and software for Mozilla's Firefox operating system.

Hon Hai, better known by its trade name Foxconn and a major supplier to Apple, plans to produce five devices running on Firefox.

The Firefox operating system uses applications on HTML5, a web standard which operates across platforms, unlike those developed for specific systems such as Apple's iOS or Google Android.



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