Hands On With The ZTE Open, The World’s First Firefox OS Smartphone [MWC 2013]


mwc2013bug-coaBARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS — Here at MWC, ZTE has announced that it will be launching the world’s first commercially available Firefox OS smartphone this summer. Called the ZTE Open, the entry-level device is the first of a series of Open smartphones coming from the Chinese company, and it’s aimed at consumers who want to “ experience the latest technology on a limited budget.”

ZTE isn’t being modest when it describes the Open as “entry-level” — that’s exactly what it is. It has a 3.5-inch HVGA multitouch display with a low resolution, and it’s powered by a 1GHz single-core processor. Other features include 256MB of RAM, a measly 512MB of internal storage, a 3.2-megapixel rear-facing camera, and Bluetooth 2.1.

ZTE-Open-sideZTE was very optimistic about the Open and indeed the Firefox OS that powers it during its press conference, but this certainly won’t be the device that kickstarts the adoption of Mozilla’s new smartphone platform. It looks and feels like a low-budget Android handset — one that was launched a good five years ago.

I found the device to be slow during my hands-on with it, and quickly flicking between its web-based apps caused the system to crash a number of times. It is early days, however, so here’s to hoping Mozilla can make the experience a little smoother before the Open goes on sale in Europe and Latin America this summer.

ZTE has a clear target for the Open: “Young people who are keen to experience the latest technology on a very limited budget.” The company also promotes the device as a good bridge between old-fashioned feature phones and modern-day smartphones.

But for those looking for a little more, it might be best to wait until the company shows off the rest of the Open series.


If only they would let you see the back.

If only they would let you see the back.