When Mozilla said devices running Firefox OS would be cheap, we didn't know they'd be this cheap. Telefónica has just tweeted that the ZTE Open will be launching in Spain tomorrow for €69, which translates to around $90 and is a good $30 less than the cheapest developer unit we'd seen until now. And here's where it gets pretty wild: that price includes €30 ($39) of airtime for prepaid customers. When we played with the Open back in February at Mobile World Congress, we weren't exactly blown away by it, but we're arguably not the target demographic. The real question is whether Spaniards will be willing to sacrifice access to Google's services and ecosystem with devices like the Vodafone Smart Mini now selling for as little as €49 ($65).
Update: PR after the break.
Telefónica, Mozilla and ZTE to launch Firefox OS in Spain on July 2
• Movistar to offer the ZTE Open for €69, including €30 of balance for prepaid customers and a 4GB microSD card
• The ZTE Open is the first of a number of Firefox OS devices that will be launched by Telefónica this year
• Firefox OS devices will also be launched by Telefónica in other markets, including Colombia and Venezuela, in the coming weeks
Madrid, 1 July 2013 -‐ Telefónica, Mozilla and ZTE today announced the world's first commercial launch of Firefox OS with the ZTE Open available at Movistar stores from 2 July priced at €69 (inc. VAT), including €30 for prepaid customers and the option of zero interest financing for post pay customers*.
The launch marks a significant moment for the mobile phone industry with consumers able for the first time to buy a smartphone based entirely on open web standards. Firefox OS frees consumers and developers from the constraints of existing closed ecosystems by using the web as the platform for all functionality and applications.
Commenting on the launch, Luis Miguel Gilpérez, CEO of Telefónica España, said, "We believe that smartphones need to be more open and that the web is the platform for making this possible. Consumers should not be locked to any one system but have the choice to consume the content they want and the flexibility to be able to take it with them when they change devices. This first open web device marks a significant milestone in making this possible. This is just the beginning as we plan to bring a wide range of Firefox OS devices to our customers."
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 experience will be further enhanced as new features and capabilities are added via over the air updates.
Firefox OS features a revolutionary new search capability that allows the device to adapt to the user's changing needs and is only built into Firefox OS. Swipe to the right from the home screen and enter a search term and the phone will customize itself to that search. For example, search for an artist and get results to buy songs, watch music videos, buy concert tickets and even listen to them instantly without having to download and install any apps.
"The launch of Firefox OS marks an incredibly exciting time for the mobile industry. Firefox OS powers the first smartphones built entirely on Web technologies and will stimulate an inspiring new wave of innovation for the Web," says Jay Sullivan, Mozilla Chief Operating Officer. "We are proud to work with partners like Telefonica which see the potential to deliver an experience for first time smartphone users that will delight them and really put the power of the Web in people's hands."
The ZTE Open features a 3.5-‐inch, HVGA TFT touchscreen display and has 256MB RAM and 512MB ROM combined with a 3.2MP camera. A 4GB microSD card is also included. The ZTE Open offers all of the capabilities of a smartphone including messaging, email, calendar, FM radio, camera with built-‐in style filters, location-‐based services from Nokia HERE maps and browsing via the Firefox Web browser.
"We are honored to partner with Telefónica and Mozilla to launch our first Firefox OS phone, ZTE Open. It is packed with everything you would expect from a smartphone, delivering a great experience for those upgrading to one for the first time. As one of the top five smartphone manufacturers in the world, ZTE is devoted to providing more options for customers globally and enabling them to live better lives via advanced technology," said Mr. Dai Wenhong, VP of ZTE Corporation.
In addition to discoverability of content via the dynamic search capability, customers will also benefit from easy access to familiar global and local apps through the Firefox Marketplace. Content partners supporting Firefox OS include EL PAÍS, La Caixa, AS, eBay, Badoo, Terra, Telepizza, KAYAK, The Weather Channel, TMZ, AOL, Wikipedia, CNNMoney, Huffington Post, TIME and Tuenti. This growing list joins existing apps including Facebook, MTV Brasil, Airbnb, Time Out, Twitter and SoundCloud and demonstrates the continuing evolution of the content ecosystem.
The ZTE Open is the first of a number of Firefox OS devices that will be launched by Telefónica this year, offering the benefits of this new open operating system across a range of different price points. Other device manufacturers supporting Firefox OS include Alcatel OneTouch, LG, Huawei and Sony.
Firefox OS devices will also be launched by Telefónica in other markets, including Colombia and Venezuela, in the coming weeks.