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Chinese smartphone giants ZTE are to sell their ZTE Open phone which runs on the FireFox OS for just £59.99 from Friday. The ZTE Open is the first FireFox phone from ZTE launched, but will form part of a wider range of FireFox phone from ZTE.

ZTE plan to sell the phone, without contract, from Friday on eBay in the US and UK. In the US the phone will cost $79.99, while back home in the UK it will go for £59.99. The phone will be unlocked so it can be used with any network, meaning it will be a great option for those who have broken their smartphone but still have a contract left to finish.

With such a low price it’s no wonder that ZTE have chosen to offer the device exclusively on eBay. The phone is priced lower than some smartphone cost even with a two year contract. At less than £60 the phone really is a bargain, and selling via eBay helps cement that reputation for ZTE.

The FireFox OS was designed to offer many of the great features that smartphones have with less need for expensive hardware. As Android adds more features, it needs more RAM, processing power and storage to do basic tasks. FireFox OS is designed to cut out unnecessary OS processes so that costs can be cut and smartphones made available to people in very low income countries, widening access to the internet.

However it’s not surprising that such a device would also potentially be big in Britain. Low cost feature phones are still popular in mobile phone shops for new arrivals in the country, people who just need a basic phone and those between mobiles. The ZTE Open phone is likely to be popular among this segment as it offers more features for a similar price.

Despite such a small price the phone’s specs aren’t terrible. The screen is 3.5″, which is the same size as the iPhone 4S. The resolution isn’t great at 480×320, but it’s the same as the iPhone 3GS so not terrible either. The processor managed to reach 1 GHz and is a Cortex A5 chip. There’s only 256 MB of RAM though, and the internal storage is just 512 MB but there’s an MicroSD card slot allowing up to 32GB storage in total. The camera is just 3.15 megapixels but is awful, and it can take video too.

The phone reminds us a lot of the iPhone 3GS when it comes to stats, but even that phone – four years old now – sells new for £189.99. The ZTE Open device is less than a third of that price. However  the FireFox OS doesn’t have all the apps that Apple does, although it’s still a great experience for browsing on.

The ZTE open isn’t the only FireFox OS device around. The Alcatel One Touch Fire offers a very similar phone (same screen size and resolution, same megapixel camera, same speed processor, same memory) but is currently retailing for more than the ZTE Open will be available for.

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