ZTE Firefox OS Smartphone Coming To MWC 2013

While the 2013 Mobile World Congress (MWC) is still about a month away, phone developers can't help but tease some of the new announcements they'll be making.

Chinese telecommunications company and phone manufacturer ZTE sent out a (very brief) press release on Wednesday noting that it intends to show off two new phones at the MWC in Barcelona, Spain.

ZTE declined to name the phones directly, but it did leave the hashtags for the announcements "to whet your appetite."


The ZTE Grand Memo we already know about. As a 5.7-inch phone/tablet hybrid, this "phablet" is the company's answer to Samsung's popular Galaxy Note line-up. It even plays off the name of its South Korean rival's phone (a memo is basically a note, but this one is grand!) The phone sports a 1.7GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-score processor, a 13-megapixel camera, 2GB of RAM, and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

That's all well and good, but it's the second hashtag that's more interesting. The sign blatantly suggests that ZTE is going to reveal a new smartphone based on Mozilla's Firefox operating system.

Mozilla just recently announced that it's gearing up to send developer builds for Firefox OS, but ZTE's press release hints that consumer-oriented devices are going to be shown off much sooner than expected. Previously it was believed that the Firefox phones would be making their official public debut in Brazil later in the year

ZTE was announced as one of Mozilla's manufacturing partners back in July, but its plan to release a phone, too, signals a closer relationship than indicated before.

No details are known about the handset at this point, but generally the first wave of smartphones incorporating Firefox OS will be low- to mid-range devices aimed at global customers priced out of the market for, say, iPhones.

Since its inception, Mozilla has been touting the open Web platform for its new operating system. Built entirely with HTML5, development for Firefox OS will be open to virtually anyone and everyone with working knowledge of the basic programming language. Its ecosystem will be open to all, and Mozilla representatives have also stated that those concerned with privacy need not be: The company will not monitor user's personal data.

The 2013 MWC takes place Feb, 25-28.

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