Archive for Firefox OS

My journey with Firefox OS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2013 by flyingsources

Firefox OS: the Web is the Platform

Over the past few months, I’ve been very intrigued by the mission of Mozilla in creating a completely web based OS for smartphones where the entire phone’s software is run by HTML5 aka the open web. Utilizing web apps to function on the device as native apps, and making affordable hardware, it brings the possibility to distribute these devices into the hands of those people in other countries where there is no chance of ever affording a high end and popular device from the likes of Apple and Google.

I’ve read up on web development for building and creating open web apps for Firefox OS, as well as hacking the devices and all of that good stuff.

When it was announced that ZTE was planning on selling their ZTE Open (Firefox OS device) through eBay for the US and UK markets, I was totally excited. For only $80 USD you could buy an affordable Firefox OS device to play with and learn from, so I was hyped. Right before this eBay sale went live (which they sold out for both in the US and UK), I found a pre-production (but fully functional –according to ZTE support) ZTE Open that was black for sale at $116, so I ordered it. Then the next day I learned of the upcoming eBay sale in which the consumer version/mass production Orange devices were going to be up on eBay at the ZTE Store for only $80. I thought it was a bummer at first because I spent a bit more than $80 and for a pre-production device but I was happy I was going to get a piece of “the future”, regardless.

So I waited and waited since it was shipping from China. It actually took 3-4 weeks to arrive which was pretty frustrating because while tracking it on eBay, almost everyday it gave me a different and delayed estimated arrival date.  When I finally got the device, I was still excited. I played with it but reality sunk in. And no, it’s not because I’m American and I’m “spoiled” with higher end devices. It’s because of the fact that the device wouldn’t even load a website. I thought the goal was to bring the power of the open web to the user? How is this so, if I can’t even view a website? Every time I tried to do anything basic on Twitter (which is just the mobile Twitter site), such as view my lists, compose a tweet, reply to a tweet or search…..CRASH. Same thing with Facebook’s mobile web app. So I would have to constantly reboot the ZTE Open just to “try again”. Well, it became so much of a problem that I returned the device all the way back to China.

Orange ZTE Open Firefox OS device from eBay

After that I got a mid range Android from 2012 and used that for a while until I was tempted to give Firefox OS another shot but this time with the Orange mass produced ZTE Open, instead of the pre-production “collectible”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to bash Mozilla for their amazing endeavor, but I’m trying to tell it like it is from a users perspective. Anyways, I got my Orange ZTE Open in 5 days (because this time it was shipped from the US) which was nice. Played with it as well, used it as my main device. Thinking that it was a more stable version of the OS, I didn’t fear any crashes, freezes, reboots and so on. Oh was I mistaken. I currently still have the device and I have to reboot it 5 times a day on average to get applications to work on it. I wrote ZTE on eBay about this and to the point that I was fed up with a 2nd time and asked them to refund me the money. A lot of people are harsh with ZTE support but they are very kind and try to be as helpful as possible, as I’ve learned chatting with them on eBay. Well, after I asked for a refund, there’s been a little back and forth action where there is some resistance on their part which is not pleasing for a customer. I want a phone I can use daily. Especially use the web on, which in this case should be no issue right?

My main point in writing this post is to reach out to Mozilla and ask them why they released a smartphone that stands for so much but barely achieves these points?
Think about the person in a less fortunate country who wants to get their hand on a smartphone for the first time. Well now they can with Firefox OS which is a huge breakthrough. But the problem is that the OS isn’t ready enough to even function correctly, so imagine how a person in that scenario feels? My opinion is that Mozilla should have waited to release the OS, perfect it, test everything about it, then release it with true confidence.

I wish Mozilla the best with this awesome mission and I know they can do it and do it right. Their community is inspiring and their goals are incredible and humbly powerful.

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I’m an artist and respectively, I was wrong about Windows Phone

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2013 by flyingsources

A few months ago now I wrote a post about how after being with Windows Phone for a while, I realized it wasn’t for me. There were many factors I took in play for this conclusion but now there’s an update to my conclusion.

My choices were based off of other motives where I really wanted the ability to try other OS’s and partially because I was getting somewhat bored. I set out to sell my Lumia 920 (which I miss now lol) and found someone who wanted one in exchange for a Nexus 4. I took the plunge and did the swap. The reason for the Nexus 4 Android device was mainly for the fact that I could run a new smartphone OS in development on it. This OS is Ubuntu Touch. Over the time I spent with Android/Ubuntu, I learned a lot and it was a fun experience as it should be when trying something else out. I wasn’t new to Android but I was new to Ubuntu Touch although it was and still is in a development preview version. Using Android was fun, and playing with Ubuntu Touch was fun as well. UT has a lot of potential in my opinion. It’s like a mini version of Ubuntu desktop on your phone. You can even run the terminal to update software etc, which is pretty impressive. Android is, well, Android. It has its pros, but many of us know it has its cons. After playing with Ubuntu/Fedora on my desktop for this time period, I wanted more “stability”. Don’t get me wrong, Linux is awesome. Ubuntu is getting more and more popular with new features that others seem interested in implementing as well. Fedora was awesome too but there was something missing for me personally. I never had any security issues with either Linux platform on my laptop. Dealing with where I should focus my development/programming priorities is very important to me as well. Summed up, I felt the urge to put Windows 8 back on my laptop. I really fits me better. There are huge benefits with using a Linux based, open sourced platform as well though. But I can always install whichever Linux platform alongside (with a much smaller partition) Windows if I ever feel the need to, so we’ll see where that goes for me in the future.

Now back to Ubuntu Touch. They have a long way to go still. The OS and its functionality is very unique. The UI and the UX (hopefully I correctly understand the differences by now lol) are reminiscent of the desktop Unity format but there are still missing points to me. It just feels empty. This could be because it’s still being worked on, but as videos and demos show a more finalized version of it, it still doesn’t appeal to me. So after flashing Ubuntu Touch onto my Nexus 4 about 3-4 times, I decided to move elsewhere. I played with and learned about Firefox OS, which my favorite feature is the impressive fact that the entire phone OS is built off of the web with HTML5. Everything from the settings of the phone to the web apps. This is going to be great for those in other countries where it’s hard to find affordable smartphones, also since Firefox OS phones are planned to be very, very affordable. There are drops in the Firefox OS world of apps though. Yes, they’re just web apps and that is awesome but they are also laggy, unresponsive at times and for the most part, you need an internet connection for them to function at all. I wish them both the best of success.

I started to look more into Jolla’s mission with Sailfish OS, which is truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen. More appealing to the eye and very simple to use. I was looking to get a Nokia N9 to play with MeeGo, which I have heard from my fellow-writers at Nokia Innovation, it’s a legend. The MeeGo smartphone OS is the forefather of the upcoming Sailfish OS. They have a lot of similarities, except it looks to me that Sailfish is just more polished.

I had the opportunity to either get a Nokia N9 for $175 in great condition or a Nokia Lumia 521 for $130. My family and I are in a real bind right now, being unemployed with two children so you gotta do what you gotta do, so I went with the Lumia 521, with no real desire to come back to Windows Phone. I met the guy and talked him down to $100 due to other deals online and ever since I’ve had that phone in my hand, I’m happy. Aside from the awesome Windows Phone/Windows/Nokia community worldwide, this device in itself is perfect for me right now.

First things first, I had to learn that no phone will be ultimately perfect, ever.

Each OS and Manufacturer will have their cons, but what matters is how much the pros add up, for you. They each have their pros as well, obviously.

This Lumia 521 is the best device and Windows Phone you can buy for that price tag to get the most out of. I had a Lumia 810, Lumia 820, Lumia 822 and Lumia 920 and this little Lumia 521 can work just as hard. Pictures come out beautiful outside in the light, since it doesn’t have flash for the camera. It also doesn’t have a front facing camera, but 99% of the time, I never used a front camera. It has a 5 MP camera but still has Nokias camera technology built in (though it’s not Carl Zeiss). Like I said, pictures come out great, videos even better, music is crisp and loud, I have a lot of apps downloaded that I use and still have enough space left.

Simply put, Windows Phone and Windows is a breath of fresh air again, especially WP8 since I use a smartphone for most of my work etc. I was tired of having to constantly kill background tasks with Android among other issues. The battery on this Lumia 521 honestly lasts much longer than my Nexus 4. Windows Phone is simple, clean, effective and though it’s still young, it has come far and I’m sure has a bright future. So I’m excited to get back on the ship and continue my learning of Windows Phone development, Windows 8 development and might work on Sailfish OS development too in the future.

I’d like to thank all of my friends on twitter, Nokia Employees/Ambassadors/Devs/Fans and WinPhans etc, for all of their help, support and love for the welcome back! Let’s do this!!