At the start of the month, we reported that Spain's Telefonica had launched the first Firefox OS-based phones using Chinese manufacturer ZTE's hardware. At the time, Mozilla had oddly kept mum about things, but today, it's finally opened up, over at its official Mozilla Hacks blog.
Mozilla's Robert Nyman states, "Almost two years ago, we announced Boot to Gecko (B2G) here on Mozilla Hacks. We discussed the aims of the project and the work we were planning to do. Today, all that work has paid off and we now have official Firefox OS devices in store!"
Indeed. From concept to reality, a launch of a product like this is impressive, especially given the landscape we're dealing with. Android reigns supreme, and paired with iOS, there's barely any room left in the market for anyone else. But Mozilla has big ambitions, and given the fact that it's choosing to launch the first phones in countries where high-cost units are not going to be all the rage, it could see some good success there.
The phone, dubbed ZTE Open, is a low-powered device, but carries a price-tag to match: €69 (~$89 USD). The next countries on Mozilla's target include Poland, Colombia and Venezuela.
In addition to this announcement, Mozilla is taking the opportunity to remind developers that its platform is worth supporting - though admittedly, it's likely going to be difficult to convince people in countries that can't even purchase the phone to jump on board. One thing that might help is the introduction of paid apps, or apps that include the ability to make in-app purchases. Mozilla gives a small guide on how to get started there.
Finally, the company also says that its Firefox OS Simulator will be upgraded to version 4 later this week. With that, it will bring a new connect button used to connect the developer toolbox to your specific app, a remote style editor, a keyboard shortcut to force a refresh of various caches, an updated dashboard design and new touch events.
While it'd be nice to see a Firefox OS phone on these shores, the fact that it's only being featured on a sub-$100 phone at the moment would likely make few care anyway. That could change in time, though, based on the success the OS and its devices receive in the countries it'll become available in.