Firefox OS devices now available in Poland, with Germany and more coming soon

Summary:T-Mobile is hoping to persuade featurephone-wielding Poles to make the upgrade with the Alcatel OneTouch Fire

The Alcatel OneTouch Fire, one of the first consumer devices running Firefox OS, will be shortly be available to Polish consumers.

Alcatel_Firefox_OS
Image: Deutsche Telekom

The device will go on sale through T-Mobile's online shop from Friday, while retail channels will stock the phone starting Monday.

After the launch of the ZTE Open earlier this month in Spain, Poland is the second market where a commercial smartphone running Mozilla's mobile OS will be available. According to T-Mobile, Hungary will be the next market it enters with the OneTouch Fire, followed by Greece and Germany in the autumn.

A marked difference between Firefox OS and market leaders like Android and iOS is the lack of a compulsory marketplace system for non-jailbroken or non-rooted phones. While criticised for leaving out a control mechanism, Mozilla and T-Mobile hope developers and customers will appreciate the freedom they have in developing and using the system.

"There are no gatekeepers, everyone can build applications," Andreas Gal, vice president of engineering at Mozilla, said during the press conference held on Thursday in Warsaw. "There is not one single marketplace controlled by a single company. And more importantly, the actual technology in the devices is not controlled by a single company. We try to move HTML5 to a space where everyone can create."

Users get the best of both worlds, Gal says: there are marketplaces where they can go to, but they can also search for content by themselves.

The rise of alternative OSes like Firefox's signal that operators are warming to the idea of having options that can lower their dependence on Android models, especially those made by Samsung. But price is also an important factor — T-Mobile and Mozilla will be entering a space dominated by more high-end rivals. The choice for Poland as a testing ground for Firefox OS is in part motivated by the hope that a larger part of the consumers there are on the boundary between sticking to a traditional featurephone and switching to a smartphone — a decision where cost is a large factor.

The Alcatel OneTouch Fire is therefore unsurprisingly aimed at the entrance market for smartphones. T-Mobile offers the phone for free (or rather, a symbolic single zloty) with subscriptions it describes as "very attractive". The cheapest package will be 39.90 zloty (€9.25) per month.

Topics: Mobile OS, EU, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Michiel van Blommestein is a Dutch journalist who has been living in Poland since 2010. He worked as a technology journalist in the Netherlands before moving to Poland to work as a regular correspondent for various news outlets. He still loves the bits and bytes though.

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