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Unlocked Firefox OS ZTE Open Is Now Available On eBay For For $80

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the get-it-while-it's-hot dept.

Cellphones 122

SmartAboutThings writes "We've been hearing quite a lot lately about the Firefox OS, but there are actually only a few Firefox OS phones launched on the market. ZTE Open is one of them and is actually the first Firefox OS phone for consumers. Even if Firefox OS has support from carriers all over the world, it's pretty hard to sell devices in more locations across the world. To remedy that, ZTE is going to sell the Firefox OS Open phone on eBay for eighty dollars, which is actually ten dollars less than the launch price. A real great thing is that the handset will be off-contract and unlocked which means you will be able to use it on all mobile networks. ZTE didn't mention when exactly the device will go on sale on eBay, the company just mentioning 'soon.'"

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122 comments

I'll hold out (5, Funny)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about a year ago | (#44542775)

until I know it is "NSA Ready."

Re:I'll hold out (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44542955)

Is harder to hide a backdoor when the code of the OS is open source and the apps are in html5. That don't take out the tracking that could do your phone company, or that your data traffic gets intercepted or not, but for what you have running and stored on it you have more guarantees than the ones that you have with iPhones, WinPhones and android phones (specially with heavy modifications by the manufacturers).

Re:I'll hold out (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#44543645)

Is harder to hide a backdoor when the code of the OS is open source and the apps are in html5.

This helps a bit, but not as much as you would think. When they say "unlocked" what they mean is that this phone comes unlocked for use on multiple operators but probably (unless this changes close to market time) not not unlocked for using your own OS [eslack.org] . That makes the whole phone OS close to a binary blob that you can't replace and which they will be able to change without you having true control. If you use cyanogenmod [cyanogenmod.org] you might argue that the reduced number of binary blobs would allow some kind of auditing. However without true openness like replicant [replicant.us] it's almost impossible to be sure.

Maybe worth calling up our ZTE friends and persuading them to provide an easy way to unlock the bootloader on the EBay phones.

Re:I'll hold out (1)

dmt0 (1295725) | about a year ago | (#44544233)

Even if it's fully open, with 0 binary blobs. How many qualified specialists, with serious math background, do you think are out there looking through complex encryption functions checking through flaws in math? Ever heard of Obfuscated C Code Contests? Openness of the code does not guarantee absence of backdoors even if the code does get a lot of eyeballs looking at it.

Re:I'll hold out (4, Informative)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#44546245)

Even if it's fully open, with 0 binary blobs. How many qualified specialists, with serious math background, do you think are out there looking through complex encryption functions checking through flaws in math? Ever heard of Obfuscated C Code Contests? Openness of the code does not guarantee absence of backdoors even if the code does get a lot of eyeballs looking at it.

Firstly; if the Obfuscated C Code scares you then I guess you should look up the underhanded C contest. Notice especially the bits where malware is disguised as small programming bugs. When you say "Openness of the code does not guarantee.." you are 100% right. However, don't forget, "the perfect is the enemy of the good". We don't always need a guarantee; sometimes improvement is enough:

1) Given that there have been plenty of discoveries of problems (e.g. just today a flaw in Android's RNG was reported) there must be quite a few people who are checking.

2) All it takes is one person. You don't need to do anything to benefit if I check it for you.

3) There is a vast increase in the risk for the attacker if it's open source;

  • their change is likely visible in the version control and can be traced back to them
  • it's easy for someone to change their backdoor into a trap
  • if they do use the attack to break in it's much easier to track it back to the original programming mistake

4) Security problems tend to happen in generally insecure code. If code is open source you can avoid this:

  • by looking to see how the code is written and choosing the software using the best techniques and languages
  • by choosing code written by people you feel you can trust and avoiding others

Several of the things I mentioned are things that most people won't do most of the time. Having them as options means that they will be available when you actually really need them.

defenders can spot the hole and

Re:I'll hold out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543991)

Please do some research on the way privilege separation works in smart phones. The heavily sand boxed user application core is literally the last place any serious spooks would hide a back door. The embedded radio core is a much easier target, since it is not user replaceable, never open source, and has to be approved by the government before the phone can be sold. If the system outside the sandbox is compromised it does not matter what you run inside it.

Re:I'll hold out (1, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44544901)

Idiots.

Its trivial to hide back doors in the hardware itself, which isn't 'open'.

You OSS fanboys really need to stop talking out your ass and realize its not the end all be all solution.

Unless I rebuild the binaries ... with a trusted GCC compiler (prepackaged doesn't imply trusted since I didnt build those binaries either), and bios, and every other component in the device, than I am no more sure than I was before I used an OSS OS.

If you manually confirm the source is safe yourself, you build all binaries yourself without ever touching untrusted/unverified code, than you are no better off than owning an iPhone.

All OSS can do is PROVE that it is not secure. It can not prove that that it IS secure. Get your facts straight, OSS does nothing to help you be more secure, just another buzzword you don't understand being used in a way that you heard someone else use it.

Re:I'll hold out (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year ago | (#44545107)

Is harder to hide a backdoor when the code of the OS is open source and the apps are in html5

not really. there's no way a carrier just clones the OSS project and flashes it onto their phones. they always customize the software further. as long as the underlying OS allows for modular services, the fact that the OSS project does or does not have something has little to do with what will be running on the phone.

regardless, the carrier doesn't even need software on the device to watch you. they can monitor your network traffic and location simply by the fact that you are using their network.

and, if you think your carrier isn't watching you, i have a nice bridge to sell you. they all do it. whether they share that data with law enforcement is the only question.

Re:I'll hold out (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44545445)

What part of "harder" is so, er, hard, to understand? Is not like having a backdoor.c included in the front of the code that could others do, not impossible, just harder. And Mozilla plans to do somewhat frequent updates to the OS, if those phones enables the update to the latest version directly is again "harder" to put something in the middle. My main concern (as can't take out the carrier, and maybe can't take binary blobs like probably drivers, and can't take out whatever is in hardware) was more about stored files (like private certificates/keys/whatever), and anything that makes it harder (again, not impossible) to be taken by a rogue app or whatever else that is running there is a good thing.

Re:I'll hold out (5, Insightful)

larwe (858929) | about a year ago | (#44543087)

Well, it's going to be even better than that - it's going to be "Chinese intelligence community ready", or so the US Government believes - Chinese telecoms vendors have very tough going in the US market. Re gmuslera's comment below, there's a lot more software in the phone than just the OS and apps. It seems very unlikely that the whole software stack, particularly the code running in the baseband processor, will be open source (too much proprietary magic in it), and exploits could easily be hidden in that side of the phone - or even in hardware, if it comes to that. After quickly looking at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefox_OS [wikipedia.org] I see that there is no mention made of the coprocessors; they're just talking about the OS and application environment as being open-source. Additionally, if the NSA wants your data - scratch that, WHEN the NSA wants your data, which is all the time, they simply tap it at the source. If you're using someone's network, you're at the mercy of that someone.

Re:I'll hold out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543245)

Firefox OS anticipates your needs, adapts to every situation and instantly delivers the information you want.

Re:I'll hold out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543497)

We appologize for the mistakes that we may have made in the past with out data collection and retention policy in the past. We feel we've learned a lot about you Dan, and don't worry we won't make the same mistakes again, as long as your cell phone is turned on, its NSA ready!

By reading this message, it confirms your acceptance to what we may have already done, are doing now, and will do in the future. Thank you for your cooperation. If you would like to unenroll yourself in our project, Please send us a SASE and $5.00 processing fee, addressed to Carl Smithers, 1205 Elm grove dr, Wastchester, MA, containing your solution to this week's puzler. Many will enter, few will win.

Re:I'll hold out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543705)

And until I know I can install an actual OS on there.

Not some Lovecraftian inner-platform abomination that makes the old joke about Emacs being a nice OS with a shitty text editor look not funny at all.

What's next? Booting Linux inside of it, and use your virtual modem to make a dial-up connection to your virtual modem on your PHP (*barf*) server? ... Oh [jslinux.org] , wait [github.com] !

Re:I'll hold out (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44544867)

Its from ZTE ... it will not be NSA ready, unless China also calls their spy organization the NSA as well.

Smart move (1)

djupedal (584558) | about a year ago | (#44542785)

...very smart. Thanks to ZTE (and F'Fox) for taking this route and making this device available.

Re:Smart move (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | about a year ago | (#44542815)

I completely agree. There is today absolutely NO INCENTIVE to go through a provider to get a phone. It is perfectly fine to get there with your own phone and usually much less expensive over time. Unless you live in the US ans your carrier charges the same price whether you're reimbursing a subsidized phone or not of course which is simply called 'theft' in my book.

Re:Smart move (1)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a year ago | (#44543077)

Friends and family plans are generally substantially cheaper than buying your own phone and paying off-contract, you have to go through a provider to do that of course.

In the US, all the major carriers and a great number of smaller ones will let you use an unlocked phone off-contract, and no it's not the same price.

Re:Smart move (1)

farble1670 (803356) | about a year ago | (#44545217)

Friends and family plans are generally substantially cheaper than buying your own phone and paying off-contract, you have to go through a provider to do that of course.

if you buy a $650 samsung galaxy 4, yes. if you buy a $350 nexus 4, no.

In the US, all the major carriers and a great number of smaller ones will let you use an unlocked phone off-contract, and no it's not the same price.

yes it is the same price. my spouse and i have separate plans. i came in with my own phone off contract. she has an on-contract iphone. same monthly cost.

Re:Smart move (1)

Luthair (847766) | about a year ago | (#44542817)

Hopefully it will be more available than the Geeksphone devices which have been "available" for 6-months but never have any stock.

Re:Smart move (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44544927)

Why is it so smart? So a few geeks can buy it on EBay?

No one knows its there besides some slashdotters. That makes this a pretty stupid idea. They'll get 9 million times more exposure in a store.

Whats next? Craigslist advertising?

"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44542795)

So... it does GSM and CDMA? Or did the submitter not do their homework?

Tl;dr - if it works on Verizon's network and is even 50% better than my current phone, I'm in.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (4, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44542813)

2 degrees of separation, here's the latest list of carriers, dated 7/29/13:

América Móvil - Jamaica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil
China Unicom – China
Deutsche Telekom – Germany
Etisalat – Middle-East
Hutchison Three Group – United Kingdom
KDDI – Japan
KT – South Korea
MegaFon – Russia, Tajikistan
Qtel – Qatar
SingTel – Singapore
Smart - Philippines
Sprint – United States
Telecom Italia Group – Italy
Telefónica – Spain
Telenor – Norway
TMN – Portugal
VimpelCom – Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Algeria, Bangladesh

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543065)

What about Tmobile?

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44543325)

What about Tmobile?

do you guys list car manufacturers by gasoline companies or by type of gasoline they can use? if you know what network your provider is running(you should), then just look it up.

2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100
SIM Mini-SIM

GPRS Yes
EDGE Yes
Speed HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543805)

Just pointing out that in America, the majority of our mobile information is purposefully obfuscated and outright hidden, so the carriers can keep the masses confused and signing 2-year high-monthly cost contracts instead of buying phones and going prepaid.

So, over here, it is in fact normal to ask "what about [x]" because too many people are locked into contracts, and looking to use their "upgrades" asap and sign another two year contract.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543333)

T-mobile is part of Deutsche Telekom, so really he should have said "Deutsche Telekom - Germany, United States"

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

Espectr0 (577637) | about a year ago | (#44543839)

Both Firefox OS phones are being sold in Venezuela by TelefÃnica as well

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44543987)

I like how the only supported US carrier is the one carrier that virtually nobody has service with... almost like they want Firefox OS to fail miserably in the US.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

gaiageek (1070870) | about a year ago | (#44546665)

What are you talking about? Given the bands supported, it will run on AT&T 2G and 3G, T-Mobile on 2G plus 3G in those areas where T-Mobile has re-farmed their 1900Mhz spectrum (see www.airportal.de). Given that it's an $80 phone, the fact that it's quad-band 3G is pretty amazing.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44546763)

What are you talking about?

There's a link in TFA that lists all the carriers who have verified that they will allow the Firefox OS devices on their network. I listed them here because I know a lot of people can't be bothered to RTFA, let alone any subsequent links.

Given the bands supported, it will run on AT&T 2G and 3G, T-Mobile on 2G plus 3G in those areas where T-Mobile has re-farmed their 1900Mhz spectrum

Yea, but just because the math works out doesn't mean you're going to land on Mars. Or something like that, but clever.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544369)

VimpelCom – Russia, Ukraine, Canada, Algeria, Bangladesh

VimpelCom owns Wind Mobile in Canada but the ZTE Open does not support UMTS Band IV (1700MHz). Wind Mobile doesn't have a 2G network, as they don't own the spectrum or have the equipment for it, so the ZTE Open won't work on Wind Mobile's network because it doesn't support the necessary UMTS frequencies.

Oh, and the rumour mill says VimpelCom is trying to sell Wind Mobile to Verizon because they're tired of the oligopoly we have here favouring the incumbent carrier (Rogers/BCE/Telus).

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (2)

PCM2 (4486) | about a year ago | (#44546853)

Where did this list come from? It seems highly unlikely that any phone would work on Sprint in the US but not on Verizon, and as far as I know the ZTE Open does not have a CDMA radio, which means it would work on AT&T and T-Mobile, but not Sprint.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44542887)

Sorry, it's only UMTS.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44542911)

Most people nowadays simply dismiss CDMA. After all, only a couple of countries with any importance still use that, and only some of the networks; and even those networks abandoned the "4G" evolution of CDMA (UMB) in favour of the standard "4G" evolution of GSM/UMTS/HSPA (LTE).

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#44542965)

I wonder if Sprint will even let this device on their network. GSM providers tend to not care -- if the SIM card works, the device comes online. However, as far as I know, CDMA providers in the US only allow devices they sell on their networks, so getting Sprint to allow this ZTE handset may be an exercise in futility.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543043)

I wouldn't allow such an operator anywhere near my phone.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44543555)

Sprint's policy is "Haha, No." Slightly surprising given that they are Verizon's whipping boy, and you'd think that they'd try to compete on service; but no.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#44543219)

So... it does GSM and CDMA? Or did the submitter not do their homework?

Carriers whose protocols give them total control over the phones on the network don't count. Particularly when virtually the entire rest of the world utilizes GSM-derived protocols that leverage SIM cards.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#44543945)

So... it does GSM and CDMA? Or did the submitter not do their homework?

Carriers whose protocols give them total control over the phones on the network don't count.

Use of the word "all" belies that thinking. "Most" is the word you would use in that circumstance.

FWIW, I looked (see self reply) and the list of supported carriers doesn't even come close to a representative sample, let alone universal inclusion.

Re:"All" Mobile Networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544327)

You listed the carriers that will sell the device, not the ones where it will work. HUGE difference there.

Radio switch? (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44542823)

Is there a hardware radio switch for those of us who don't want to be tracked by the government all the time? Failing a hardware switch, a software one could be acceptable since I can compile the OS myself.

At that price, running an open source OS, this might be my first cell phone.

Re:Radio switch? (1)

melikamp (631205) | about a year ago | (#44542859)

What I am curious about is whether this phone comes with all free software or not. I am particularly wary of non-free firmware blobs in Linux kernel. I've been waiting for a free platform for years now, and I would get this thing for $80 in a heartbeat, as long as it's fully deblobbed.

Re:Radio switch? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44543023)

It's based on a Qualcomm MSM7225A, so Not A Chance.

Qualcomm has a GPLed kernel shim; but it is wholly useless without the userspace binary blob that does mysterious things by twiddling the interfaces the shim provides.

Unless I'm much mistaken, the entire world of mobile GPUs is pretty much a clusterfuck from an openness perspective. Intel will probably die-shrink their way to cramming a GMA that isn't a licensed PowerVR part into a phone before any of the ARM SoC vendors open up.

Freedreno (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543483)

it is wholly useless without the userspace binary blob

This [github.io] looks promising.

Re:Radio switch? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543561)

Intel will probably die-shrink their way to cramming a GMA that isn't a licensed PowerVR part into a phone before any of the ARM SoC vendors open up.

Gesundheit.

Re:Radio switch? (1)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#44543119)

I am pretty sure they don't have everything open, Firefox OS is based on Android and their way of doing GPU drivers. I am most interested to know if Mozilla, the "mighty fighter for our freedoms" added a restriction to the usage of the Firefox brand that devices must be bootloader unlockable, so I can be the owner of the phone and not the OEM. I hope they are, I know Mozilla folks like to trash talk the Android ecosystem/openness, actions are better than words

Re:Radio switch? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#44543851)

Firefox OS is based on Android and their way of doing GPU drivers.

It "share some other parts of the HAL [...] with the Android project" but is it really based on Android, or just derived as Android is from Linux?

Re:Radio switch? (2)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#44544013)

They forked Android initially, don't know if they replaced bionic for glibc and more "GNUish" libraries, they aren't using Android SurfaceFlinger but they are using the GL drivers used for Android devices. Or they are using libhybris to make those GL drivers/libraries (that are linked against bionic) to run with Glibc or Firefox OS is still running bionic.

Re:Radio switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543455)

In theory, Airplane mode setting would turn off radios. That is if you trust them.
Not sure if this would stop NFC style of tracking.

Re:Radio switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543735)

[...] since I can compile the OS myself.

At that price, running an open source OS [...]

Beware, "open source OS" in the mobile / tablet world is not what you know from open source OS on PCs. There are locked bootloaders, proprietary drivers shipped as a binary blobs (mostly the GPU), and don't even hope for regular and continuing releases of software updates. And good luck trying to compile your own system from source.

Maybe Firefox OS or Ubuntu will be different than Android, but I would assume not until proven otherwise.

Re:Radio switch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543801)

How will you overcome the built-into-the-chip hardware backdoor in your hardware switch?

There's a much simpler and cheaper solution to your problem, and I'm saying that without being sarcastic: Wrap it in tin foil. (Or something prettier.)
If there's zero bars, you know it works.

The problem lies elsewhere: What's the point of a mobile phone if you can't call anyone or be called with it?
What you need is end-to-end encryption capability. And working-brain capability in your friends. (The latter is a near impossibility in today's Idiocracy of NPCs.)

Re:Radio switch? (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44544019)

How will you overcome the built-into-the-chip hardware backdoor in your hardware switch?

And how is the chip based malware going to provide power to the radio when a hardware switch has broken the circuit? That's why a hardware switch is important.

I said I might accept a software switch, since the OS is open source, but other posters have pointed out that binary blobs are everywhere on mobile devices, so I can't trust the OS even if I compile it myself.

There's a much simpler and cheaper solution to your problem, and I'm saying that without being sarcastic: Wrap it in tin foil. (Or something prettier.)

Removing the battery is another good option. But most phones don't make it easy, including this one if the images are any indication. A hardware switch to the radio would allow me to use the phone for apps while preserving my privacy, but that's not a deal breaker. Relying on unauditable software to ensure radio silence is a deal breaker.

The problem lies elsewhere: What's the point of a mobile phone if you can't call anyone or be called with it?

With a switch, I can decide whether or not making contact with someone is worth revealing my location. Without a switch, I'm tracked all day every day.

What you need is end-to-end encryption capability. And working-brain capability in your friends. (The latter is a near impossibility in today's Idiocracy of NPCs.)

That still reveals my location to the cell phone company, who will then turn it over to the government without warrant.

Re:Radio switch? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44545253)

Binary blobs are all over every computing device on the planet, except for a few non-functional (from a practical perspective) FPGA based OSH CPUs.

You live in some silly fantasy of ignorance where your Linux PC is 'free' (Which, btw, Free isn't the fucking word you mean to use as GPL is pretty much the definition of not-free contrary to what you zealots spew, the other incorrect word you should be using is libre) has no binary blobs ... except the CPU microcode ... and GPU microcode ... and BIOS/EFI ... and SM mode software from the BIOS, and of course none of the chips in your PC are in any way open.

Seriously, you guys get so retarded about 'free' and 'libre' when you don't even have the slightest clue how 'libre' you aren't in any way.

All Mobile Networks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44542827)

Is this really going to work on all mobile networks? Verizon & Sprint in the USA are still CDMA, I couldn't see if this is GSM only or not.

Horrible specs (1)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#44542871)

2009 called and wants their first gen android phone back.

        3G connectivity
        480 by 320 3.5-inch display
        expandable memory via a microSD up to 32 GB, 2 GB included
        256 MB RAM
        3.15-megapixel rear camera
        1.0 GHz Cortex-A5 processor

Re:Horrible specs (4, Informative)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year ago | (#44542949)

2009 called and wants their first gen android phone back.

Then they can go buy it on Ebay for $80 just like everyone else.

Re:Horrible specs (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44542973)

well, it's 80 bucks.

for 80 bucks it isn't bad, you would need to compare it to the aishas.

Re: Horrible specs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543007)

The specs are adequate for the price point and the target market. It is targeting the feature and dumb phone markets in countries where significant part of the market is not going to purchase a $500 phone regardless of subsidies. In US it has a potential as a first phone for a kid. I would buy one for my kid in a heartbeat.

Re:Horrible specs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543057)

Buy a first-gen droidphone then, and install FirefoxOS on it. Can you do that for less than $80, including what your time is worth?

Re:Horrible specs (2)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#44543165)

And yet it supports 32GB storage vs 8 or 16GB on your typical iphone.

Re:Horrible specs (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44546025)

Yes, but 30GB of it will be taken up by Firefox browser swap file, and another 1.9 by the OS.

More != Better in every case ;)

Re:Horrible specs (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#44546303)

While you're poking fun the actual phone only includes 512MB flash :). Things are pretty lightweight when you don't provide real APIs, libraries and stuff.

Re:Horrible specs (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44543625)

Better than an iPhone 3GS... woo hoo!

Re:Horrible specs (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44545269)

No it isn't, its running some half assed Android-Firefox concoction. Mozilla has to be a shining example of how to take the worst from a company (netscape) and roll it into a new company. They don't know how to develop a user experience for shit.

Re:Horrible specs (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44545391)

I was referring to the hardware specs which are similar to iPhone 3GS (and better for the processor and also expandable storage).
I appreciate your comment on the user interface but we will just have to wait and see how that works out. Most of my use would be through the Mozilla browser and at this point in time, most browsers are about the same since the "user experience" is dictated by the HTML and the software just has to follow instructions.
I'll buy one just to try it out.

Re:Horrible specs (3, Funny)

IwantToKeepAnon (411424) | about a year ago | (#44544427)

Timeframe (year, century, era, ____blank____) communicated (called, phoned, emailed, telegraphed, ____blank____) and wants its something (technology, ideology, automobile, ____blank____) back.

The 20th century faxed me and wants its joke back.

Link to store, not in article (2)

undeadbill (2490070) | about a year ago | (#44542881)

http://stores.ebay.com/ztemobileus [ebay.com]

Personally, I will wait. The phone is only capable of 3G, and my network supports LTE. However, the price is right if that wasn't an issue.

Re:Link to store, not in article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543049)

put up a real storefront already.

Performance? (2)

inglorion_on_the_net (1965514) | about a year ago | (#44542883)

I wonder how well this will run. Although Firefox has slimmed down somewhat after the 2.x era, it has never been particularly lightweight in my experience. About every other smartphone OS maker who has gone the "thou shalt build thy apps using HTML5, not native code" has been burned by bad performance, even when they launched with high-end phones.

According to this CNET review [cnet.com] , the ZTE Open is at least faster than the Alcatel Fire, which they describe as slow and laggy.

I guess all this means that they are aiming Firefox OS at the low end of the market, where performance matters less than being able to afford a smartphone. However, I've always found it strange that companies do that - if you are going to make a low-end device, wouldn't you want to make the most efficient use of the hardware resources you have by running native code even more than if you had plenty of CPU cycles and RAM to burn?

Re:Performance? (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#44543423)

However, I've always found it strange that companies do that - if you are going to make a low-end device, wouldn't you want to make the most efficient use of the hardware resources you have by running native code even more than if you had plenty of CPU cycles and RAM to burn?

Usually yes but who wants another incompatible ecosystem? If you launched a new phone today with a lightweight system, let's say based on Amiga OS and ran cute fast native applications.. You would end up with a phone that has a web browser, media players and hardly anything else. Web browser and media players are already included in Firefox OS.
Other benefits are web stuff is adapted to resolution scaling (I hope), no more "this old style phone app supports 128x128 displays", and total vendor independance : you can have a MIPS phone or the wrong ARM instruction set and not suffer any incompatibility at all (even though Android's Dalvik will get you significant partial compatibilty)

Otherwise, yes Javascript is horrible for performance and it will stay that way getting at most incremental improvements.
If a smartphone is used infrequently to check some web site or interface, and to have some light use of some apps well at least the apps perform similar to the websites.. The other one killer feature I can see is you presumably get updates (browser and OS) rather than stay on Android 2.1 or whatever. Better for both security and app support.

Re:Performance? (2)

evilviper (135110) | about a year ago | (#44543925)

About every other smartphone OS maker who has gone the "thou shalt build thy apps using HTML5, not native code" has been burned by bad performance, even when they launched with high-end phones.

FirefoxOS has no magic bullet. Their javascript performance will be just as poor. They seem to be developing this only because they have more money coming in than they know what to do with, and smartphones are a buzzword... /. had a good story on javascript performance, specifically on phones, a month ago:

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/13/07/14/2348226/an-interesting-look-at-the-performance-of-javascript-on-mobile-devices [slashdot.org]

I guess all this means that they are aiming Firefox OS at the low end of the market, where performance matters less than being able to afford a smartphone.

Except you can get no-contract Android phones even cheaper than this, which obviously support native apps, java/dalvik apps, and HTML5 apps, even run under Firefox.

I'll be watching this for sure. (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44542897)

I'm fascinated by the idea of an open-source phone, and hoping it might lead to a practical platform (rather than a half-functional hack) for actual Linux phones.

Bad editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44542929)

Don't include "Now Available" in the headline when the story contains "ZTE didn't mention when exactly the device will go on sale on eBay, the company just mentioning 'soon'."

Re:Bad editors (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44543091)

http://stores.ebay.com/ztemobileus [ebay.com]
You can bid on it starting this Friday... no word on when it will actually ship but presumably "real soon now" since they are already selling it in a few countries.
I think I'll get one as a backup phone... for $80 I don't see a downside.
The specs are not state of the art but similar to iPhone 3GS (with a faster processor).

eBay? (1)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about a year ago | (#44543021)

I've read the article but cannot see any reason why eBay and PayPal, entities I'd rather avoid, were chosen to sell the phone.

Re:eBay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543309)

Ebay can be pretty good for reaching a very wide audience when you want to sell cheap electronics without any sort of extra markup, ignoring seller fees.

Re:eBay? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44543667)

Distribution...
While you may rather avoid eBay and PayPal, there are millions of people who have no problem with them.
(I can find some reason to boycott just about every retailer/channel on earth... but I don't because I need to get on with my life... nose, face, spite)

Re:eBay? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44545329)

Putting the phones on Ebay shows a lack of professionalism and quality. It shows no pride in their work. Might as well post it on craigslist.

In my experience, when a company has no pride, professionalism or quality to their sales team, they certainly have no pride, professionalism or quality going into their products themselves.

It shows a pattern. They aren't willing to put for the effort to sell it properly themselves, what the fuck makes you think they put effort into making a phone that wasn't a piece of shit?

Telco Support (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a year ago | (#44543121)

Even if Firefox OS has support from carriers all over the world, it's pretty hard to sell devices in more locations across the world.

In most places in the world, phones aren't tied to telcos. Phones are sold by phone shops or electronic shops. Telco franchises also sell phones, but this is just a convenience and a very small percentage of the phones are purchaesed from telco franchisees in GSM. These shops also sell connections but this has nothing to do with the phone itself. If you already have a SIM card, you just put into the phone. If you are buying a SIM card from the same shop, you can chose one from any provider and put into the new Phone.

Firefox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543173)

Are these the same guys that turned a browser revolution into a joke? No thanks, I don't fancy a phone that gets bigger every year.

Re:Firefox? (1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about a year ago | (#44543575)

That joke has made linux desktops more usable, thanks! Now we get to have an updated browser with apt-get upgrade or the graphical wizard. When I started using linux on a regular basis people were stuck with Firefox 2.0 or 3.0 for years, with all the slowness and bugs that come with it.
Mozilla announced already Firefox OS would get the upgrade treatment, security patch every six weeks and upgrade every three monthes. This means you get at least security updates, which aren't necessarily available on Android phones meaning there's no way I can consider getting a low end Android device.

Re:Firefox? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44545341)

Heh, well we'll all be sure to take advice from the Linux newbie.

Yay!! (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about a year ago | (#44543205)

Yay for sane cellphone prices. Beween this and Nexus devices, we could see an end to Apple's and Samsung's butt-raping our bank accounts.

Re:Yay!! (1)

danceswithtrees (968154) | about a year ago | (#44543745)

Butt-raping? Are they forcing a phone on you then raping your account? As far as I know, sales of "over-priced" phones are completely consensual. Buyer's remorse perhaps, but butt-raping implies lack of consent.

I would insert an XKCD joke but can't think of one so here goes:

A woman goes to put her expensive pearl necklace into a safe-deposit box. The attendant admires them but then notices they are fake. When he informs the woman, she replies, "Oh my god, I've been raped!"

Re:Yay!! (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44545367)

Right, because all the people that paid top dollar for high quality Apple and Samsung devices are suddenly going to jump ship and want to buy bottom of the line crap phones that aren't even worth will enough for telephone carriers to give them away for contract sign ups.

Yes, thats what this tells you. The carriers don't even want to give this phone away. Thats how shitty it is.

That shitty phone ... is going to make people who pay $200-600 change their ways and go for the craptastic throwaway phone that its shittier quality/cheaper than the phones they GIVE AWAY with a contract?

Are you really that stupid?

Ebay? (0)

DogDude (805747) | about a year ago | (#44543231)

1. I don't buy stuff with eBay or PayPal, and I'm not about to sacrifice my credit card to these fraud hubs just to buy a phone.

2. A phone is supposed to be easy because they do less than computers do. Calling up Verizon and running in circles with their phone jockeys to get some off-brand phone working with their network is not my idea of easy.

3. Firefox has been banned from our network for years because of their inability to fix major bugs with something as simple as a web browser. Why would I want to buy a phone from them?

Re:Ebay? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44543725)

1. Some people have had problems with some of the sellers on eBay but eBay itself does not conduct credit card fraud... "buyer beware" applies everywhere. Presumably the vendor of this phone, ZTE, will not defraud you (but you can never know with absolute certainty).
2. Verizon is a CDMA clusterfuck. This phone is GSM... it just works... everywhere and with everyone.
3. First I've heard of Firefox being banned for not fixing bugs... do you ban Windows also?

Re:Ebay? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44545429)

Some people have had problems with some of the sellers on eBay but eBay itself does not conduct credit card fraud

Ebay owns paypal. Paypal is well known and documented for committing illegal acts with credit cards and funds. They've been to court multiple times for ripping people off in obvious ways.

2. Verizon is a CDMA clusterfuck. This phone is GSM... it just works... everywhere and with everyone.

Except on half the networks in the USA. So not everywhere and not everyone. Verizon is the biggest provider in the US, how does not working with the largest provider magically include EVERYONE? When did Sprint become GSM? They are apparently claiming Sprint support ...

http://www.ebay.com/gds/List-of-GSM-and-CDMA-Networks-and-Carriers-in-the-US/10000000009189079/g.html [ebay.com]

First I've heard of Firefox being banned for not fixing bugs... do you ban Windows also?

Then you live in a very small and secluded box. Businesses don't NEED firefox. IE and Chrome can serve the purpose in many places, if not all. Firefox in and of itself is a minority alternative browser. Businesses on the other hand pretty much must run Windows to interact with other businesses who have apps that run on Windows. End result: Banning firefox, not really a problem, you just upset 3 people in a 2500 person company. Ban Windows ... and the company closes up shop and goes home because they have software that runs on Windows but not any of the minority operating systems.

I suggest you buy a cluepon or 3.

Re:Ebay? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#44545951)

Reading skills... Sprint has pledged to release a device with the Mozilla OS... not this ZTE device, perhaps, but one that supports CDMA and which Sprint has gone through the headaches of configuring for their CDMA.

I am truly sorry to hear that you have to support Windows at work. I would think that you would have your hands full just dealing with Windows malware so I guess it would simplify to your life to reduce the number of browsers you support. One tip: Many businesses have standardized on IE v6... you might consider that. (IE 6 is still more popular than IE 10)

Orange (1)

puddingebola (2036796) | about a year ago | (#44543249)

I'm ordering 4, only because they are orange. And I like HTML5.

Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543447)

No, that's cool. My Droid works just fine.

Once upon a time there were retailers (1)

bazorg (911295) | about a year ago | (#44543563)

Once upon a time there were retailers, but the rents were high, the logistics were tricky and it all became a bit pointless.

TITLE FAIL (1)

frootcakeuk (638517) | about a year ago | (#44543627)

I read "Unlocked Firefox OS ZTE Open Is Now Available On EBay For For $80" and scrambled to get on ebay to get one! 5 mins of frantic searching, nothing. Come back to the article, tucked in right at the end ; "ZTE didn't mention when exactly the device will go on sale on eBay, the company just mentioning 'soon'." So it's not actually available at all then? Slack slashdot, slack!

Re:TITLE FAIL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544083)

I read "Unlocked Firefox OS ZTE Open Is Now Available On EBay For For $80" and scrambled to get on ebay to get one! 5 mins of frantic searching, nothing. Come back to the article, tucked in right at the end ;
"ZTE didn't mention when exactly the device will go on sale on eBay, the company just mentioning 'soon'."

So it's not actually available at all then? Slack slashdot, slack!

Most people would just go to the article for the direct link to the product, instead of spending "5 mins of frantic searching".

Re:TITLE FAIL (1)

Dagger2 (1177377) | about a year ago | (#44544193)

Not to mention the "For For $80".

The important question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44543663)

What games does it play?

eBay link anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44544189)

Can anyone provide a link for this on eBay? I see it there for $122.50 .. not $80! http://www.ebay.com/itm/ZTE-OPEN-Firefox-OS-Black-/271255554008?pt=Cell_Phones&hash=item3f281747d8

Banner ads suggest eBay ordering date of ... (1)

Ian.Waring (591380) | about a year ago | (#44544213)

Friday 16th August on the ZTE store on eBay (USA and UK).

Stupid Question (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year ago | (#44544573)

Is there any way to program these things with a conventional programming language and conventional APIs? If so, I'll buy one.

By "conventional" I mean an API with functions like "open a new view/window, add an edit field and a pushbutton, if the pushbutton is pressed, do this and that with the edit field, store a file on the phone, etc." without ever having to touch HTML, XML or any other horrible web crap. I don't want to have to design simple phone applications as if they were client/server apps.

Re:Stupid Question (2)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#44546003)

Probably just run stock android on it, then there are any number of standard GUI toolkits you could use. Qt for example (though personally, I can't stand Qt/Trolltech/Nokia), as well as the standard UI toolkit built into android.

Remember, FirefoxOS is just a hacked android distro anyway. Think of it the same way you think of the Kindle Fire. They just through their own (shitty) special sauce on someone else's OS.

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