Rating: Bringing smartphones to the masses
ZTE used its Press conference at MWC 2013 to throw its weight fully behind the Firefox OS from Mozilla. The clear intention is to flog [sell] smartphones to those who currently can’t afford them – especially in developing countries. The move was introduced by He Shiyou, head of the mobile devices division with Chinese telecoms manufacturer. The first example will be the ZTE Open which will also be the first handset to support the Mozilla Firefox mobile OS and is backed by Tier One MNO, Telefonica.
The obvious target for the ZTE Open and Telefonica will be the
Latin American countries (Venezuela and Colombia) – as well as its home market of Spain – where it should become available in the Summer of 2013.
Carlos Fernadez Casares, a director with Telefonica, made it extremely clear why his company is backing Firefox.
The MNO regards Firefox as the future. It’s not just another mobile OS from LA – Firefox brings the open web to mobile, it claims.
Brendan Eich, CTO with Mozilla, responded vigoursly to the suggestion that Firefox is launching with fee apps.
In addition – because people expect it, there already is a Firefox marketplace for users to search.
However, Mozilla has deliberately provided an app discovery mechanism inside the Firefox OS which will enable users to discover millions of assets on web.
Its obvious from the full specs (see below) that the ZTE Open will be a very basic smartphone with a 1 GHz processor and a 3.5 inch screen.
The target market is young people who like high tech but are on low budget. “Be open. Be free” is the tag line for the Open’s ads.
The hope – especially for Telefonica is to increase the current smartphone penetration rate of just 18 per cent of Latin America.
The objective with the Firefox OS/ZTE Oen is to tear down the walls between native apps and the web.
There’s another hidden benefit to using the Firefox OS, namely real-time network traffic and usage to provide cost control for tose with low incomes.
Eich also claimed that Firefox provides, “Great Facebook and Twitter” support – namely the “full web experience” but on mobile.
Mozilla Firefox OS
Size: 114 x 62 x 12.5mm
3.5inch, HVGA.TFT, One Point touch + Gesture Captive (two point option) screen
Memory: 512MB Rom +256MB RAM
Bluetooth 2.1, accelerometer, ambient light sensor
GPS, with AGPS, WIFI 802.11b/g/n
3.2M FF Camera