Mozilla launches first Firefox OS phones Alcatel One Touch, ZTE Open

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Mozilla is beginning regional rollouts of the Alcatel One Touch and ZTE Open, the first commercially released smartphones running the open-source software development initiative's new Firefox OS.

Telefónica will begin selling the ZTE Open to Spanish subscribers this week for $90 (€69), while Deutsche Telekom will introduce the smartphones in Poland in the near future. In all, Mozilla has signed more than 20 hardware and operator partners worldwide, including Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), Etisalat, Smart and Telecom Italia: Telenor will launch its first Firefox OS phones in Central and Eastern Europe this year, with devices slated to roll out in additional markets in the months ahead.

Firefox OS (formerly Boot to Gecko) promises a new phone architecture that relies entirely on the Web to enable HTML5 applications with complete access to core device APIs. According to Mozilla, developers can create Firefox OS apps from existing websites by adding an app manifest--a JSON file that describes the app, including its name, its icons and a human-readable description.

In addition to core services like voice calling, text messaging, email, Web browsing and a camera, Firefox OS includes built-in social features like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter integration, Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Here maps and Firefox Marketplace, which offers HTML5-based apps across a range of categories including games, entertainment, news, business and productivity. Mozilla also will tailor app availability for each regional market.

In late April, Mozilla and OEM partner Geeksphone released the first Firefox developer preview phones. The Keon, priced at $119, boasts a 1GHz Snapdragon S1 processor, 4 GB ROM, 512 MB RAM, a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 3-megapixel camera, MicroSD storage and support for 2G and 3G networks. The more powerful Peak, offered at $194, includes a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, 4.3-inch qHD IPS display, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (2-megapixel front), 4 GB ROM and 512 MB RAM.

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