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July 2, 2013

First Firefox OS-Powered Smartphone Debuts in Spain

The first Smartphones powered by Firefox OS are debuting for sale in Spain today — the first of the long-awaited devices from Mozilla.

Spanish carrier Telefónica is selling the ZTE Open beginning today for $90 with a prepaid subscription.

The ZTE Open, running Firefox OS, is the first Smartphone to be based entirely on open Web standards, a premise Mozilla has been touting since early this year.

“We fundamentally don’t believe there should ever be one or two companies that tell you and I and four or five or six billion people what to view,” said then-Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in February. “That’s a broken model and it needs to change.”

Mozilla previewed the first commercial build of its Firefox OS open mobile ecosystem Feb. 24. Firefox OS Smartphones are the first to be built entirely to open Web standards, enabling every feature to be developed as an HTML5 application.

ZTE Open

ZTE Open

Telefónica CEO Luis Miguel Gilpérez said in a press release his firm subscribes to Mozilla’s thoughts on freeing the Web.

“We believe that Smartphones need to be more open and that the web is the platform for making this possible,” Gilpérez said. “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.”

Mozilla CEO Jay Sullivan said 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.”

Other than ZTE, Mozilla is working with LG, Alcatel, Huawei and Sony to build the first Firefox OS devices powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processors. So far, 17 carriers from around the globe are on board with the initiative.

Other than Spain, Firefox OS devices are to be available to consumers in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia, and Venezuela this year with additional markets to be announced.

Mozilla has partners lined up in the U.S. and is expected to launch Firefox OS there in 2014.