For less than €100, mobile customers in Germany can now get their hands on the first Firefox OS phones available in the country.
On Tuesday, Deutsche Telekom subsidiary Congstar officially began selling the Alcatel One Touch Fire in some retail stores, as well as through its website. Aimed squarely at the budget smartphone market, the phone's contract-free price is €89.99, although customers can also choose to sign up for a 24-month plan, in which they would pay €4 per month for the phone over the course of the contract.
Without a contract, monthly fees range from €24.99 to €39.99. All plans include free calling to mobiles and landlines in Germany, and between 500MB and 1GB of mobile data.
In August, Congstar unveiled the phone to a group of customers in Germany who were able to use the phone for two weeks, and then review it. On its website, Congstar has posted five customer reviews, which are generally favourable, in terms of functionality, battery life, and relative ease of use — although the phone's 3.2-megapixel camera is clearly not a hit among these early reviewers.
The reviewers' minor complaints about app functionality — such as the inability to upload pictures to Facebook — will most likely be resolved in future updates. Several reviewers also noted a few stability bugs and the occasional crash, which can be typical issues in early operating system releases.
Last week, Mozilla released the first major post-launch update of its open source smartphone platform, which included performance improvements and other enhancements.
With the HTML-based Firefox OS, Mozilla is aiming to compete with other mobile operating systems, chiefly Android which is making inroads into the lower end of the market.
In Europe, customers in Poland have been able to buy the Alcatel One Touch Fire since July, and there are plans to offer it in other European countries, including Hungary and Greece, as well as further afield.