WebRTC World Feature Article

January 15, 2013

ZTE to Launch Firefox OS Phones in Europe

We were told back in the summer that there would be devices running Firefox OS released in 2013 and this has turned out to be true. However, while European users can expect to see these devices "in the coming months," it seems like U.S. consumers will have to wait until later in the year, at least if they want a ZTE-manufactured smartphone running Mozilla's HTML5-based mobile operating system.

It has often been stated that a North American Firefox OS launch will depend largely on the platform's performance in other markets. Still, ZTE’s chief of U.S. operations Cheng Lixin stated ZTE Firefox OS phones will land in the U.S. before the year's end either way. Aside from that, there's also the fact that Sprint also said it will begin offering Firefox OS devices probably sometime this year.

The details of ZTE's Firefox OS phones are slim currently, but rumors suggest that one of the devices at least will be a variation of the ZTE V788d, an entry-level Android device. This V788d variation will apparently feature a single-core 1.5GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and a 3.5-inch display with an 800x480 resolution.

This all sounds spot-on for Mozilla's mobile approach, which aims to make the modern, Web-first Firefox OS easily available to anyone. In other words, since Firefox OS relies more on HTML5 than dedicated apps, specs are of lesser importance.

The original V788d doesn't feature a front-facing camera, but the Firefox OS version just might since Firefox now officially supports WebRTC as of Firefox 18. Indeed, the latest stable version of Firefox 18 for Windows, Mac and Linux boasts not only WebRTC capability, but also Mozilla's new IonMonkey JavaScript compiler and support for high-resolution Retina displays.

As such, it's hard to imagine leaving out WebRTC on any Firefox OS device, since support for real-time video and audio chats without the need for a dedicated app could be what ends up moving phones.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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