With Firefox OS, Mozilla gets a little dirty to clean the mobile web

I just read this great report by Chris Ziegler about Mozilla’s Firefox OS. I saw an early version last year at MWC and it has hung out in the back of my brain ever since. I’m curious to see what happens with it.

“It’s a means to an end — a good end, not an evil one. “We are fundamentally in the same place we were over a decade ago where [the web is] being unnaturally controlled by a few parties,” Kovacs said. “The same call that we heard over a decade ago is being asked again of us now, which is to free the web.” Mozilla wants to break the Apple-Google ecosystem duopoly by enlisting strange bedfellows — network operators — to support a low-cost phone that can run any app, published by anyone, anywhere, without restrictions. It just needs to get a little dirty to do it.”

Firefox OS Smart Watch Coming This June


Ever looked at your watch and thought “Hmmm, could do with a some Firefox goodness?’ If so you’re in luck.

Chinese hardware company Shanda are creating a smart-watch powered by Firefox OS.

Part of the lure, the company say, is in the operating systems’ support for HTML5 technologies – opening the device up to traditional web-developers.

Further details are scant right now, but the device is expected to arrive in stores around June 2013 – around the same time that Apple will be unveiling their heavily-rumoured Smart Watch.

Alongside the Firefox OS model, the Bambook Smart Watch is also available in an Android flavour. Both are expected to retail for somewhere above $100.

Also in the pipeline is an e-ink version, which to my mind makes more sense: not only will it improve battery life but you’ll be able to see the thing in daylight…

Firefox OS is repeating the mistakes of others and hoping for a different outcome

Terrence O'Brien for Engadget:

We’ve caught glimpses of Mozilla’s smartphone offspring before, but Mobile World Congress 2013 was really the proper coming out party. Finally we’ve been given a chance to touch it, see it action and peek at the hardware it’ll be running on. Unfortunately, at this cotillion, Mozilla failed to make a good case for anyone to court its debutante.

Firefox OS continues to intrigue me in some ways, but overall, I’m getting the sense that O'Brien will be right here. Because, well, history.

Processing 2.0 + Firefox OS Tutorial

Using Processing 2.0 (beta or now official release) Processing.js is included so we are able to write processing code and conveniently run it in a web browser. So I thought, what about writing Firefox OS apps using Processing.js?

So firstly in Processing lets create a simple sketch which draws a random shape (circle or square) at a random position with a random size.

Using Javascript Mode, this can then be easily ran and tested in a browser by pressing the run button.

Now lets create a Firefox OS app. All Firefox apps can be tested in a simulator (which can be downloaded here) in the Firefox web browser. After installation, go to Tools -> Web Developer -> Firefox OS Simulator and you should be greeted with the following screen

Toggle ‘stopped’ to run the simulator and have a play. Once you’re ready, export our Processing.js app from Processing using the 'export’ button. This will create a web-export folder inside your sketch folder. Personally I copy the contents (index.html, processing.js, processingjstest.pde) to a folder inside /Developer/FirefoxOS but it doesn’t matter where you store the files, as long as you know where!

Next we need to create the manifest.webapp file

  "name": "Processing js Test",
  "description": "Processing js Test",
  "launch_path": "index.html",
  "developer": {
    "name": "ma101jl",
    "url": ""
  "icons": {
    "128": "/style/icons/pjs2.png",
    "64": "/style/icons/pjs.png"
  "orientation": "portrait-primary"

which tells Firefox OS how to install the application. Save this file to the same folder as index.html etc. and add some icons if you like to styles/icons. This can then be installed by clicking 'Add Directory’ and locating the manifest.webapp file. This should then automatically run on the device simulator

Wow, wasn’t that easy?! Lastly, lets change the sketch’s size such that it fills the entire window. Firstly add size(0.95*screen.width, 0.925*screen.height) to setup() of processingjstest.pde. Next, index.html contains a lot of code which is overkill for this simple example, thus change it to

and then the app will be 'fullscreen’

This is an ugly hack, and is included here on what not to do (open index.html in a web browser and you’ll see that it isn’t sized correctly). Never fear, the correct method using jQuery will be discussed in a future tutorial! For the mean time, the final source code may be found here.

We see an opportunity to serve users by converting them from feature phones to inexpensive smartphones. The action is in the emerging market, not going up against the top end of the market in the US, where Android is chasing Apple.

Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich talking to TechWeek Europe about Firefox OS.

On one hand, I think this approach is smart. Mozilla doesn’t have the ability to compete in the high-end of the smartphone market. But the low-end is ripe for the picking, and is going to come into play quickly.

On the other hand, I think it’s unwise to think that Apple and Android are simply going to cede the emerging markets. Apple clearly cares a lot about China. They’ve had some success there, but they need to get a cheaper iPhone on the market if it’s really going to work. Brazil, I imagine, will be extremely important to them as well. That’s going to be a tough call for Apple — just how far into their margins they’re willing to dip.

Android, of course, is the “free” OS, so naturally they’re going after the emerging markets as well. Except that “free” in this case often means paying Microsoft to use Android. Oh and some OEMs seem to want to do their own things with Android in those markets and then Google threatens to expel them from their “open” alliances.
Mozilla overhauls Firefox smartphone plan to focus on quality, not cost - CNET
After its $25 phones fail to dent the dominance of Google and Apple, the Firefox backer will try to compete using technological superiority -- and maybe by adding key Android apps, too.

I think the real problem is there already a lot of low-end Android phones floating around. It was an interesting idea, though. I’m sorry Mozilla is shifting strategies.

ZTE to sell Firefox OS running Open smartphone on eBay for $80

Earlier this year we saw the ZTE Open and the Alcatel One Touch Fire, the first commercial phones to run on the Firefox OS. ZTE has now announced it will be launching its smartphone in the UK and the US exclusively through eBay.

The company has already listed the phone on the e-commerce site, but will start accepting orders from Friday onwards. The device will be available off-contract and unlocked for $79.99 in the US and £59.99 in the UK.

For those who need reminding, the 3G-enabled ZTE Open features a 3.5-inch (480×320 pixels) display and is powered by a 1GHz Cortex-A5 processor. Other features included are 256MB RAM, 3.15-megapixel rear camera, expandable memory and a 1,200mAh battery. It also includes connectivity options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and FM Radio.

The specs are nothing to write home about, but the Firefox-based phones aren’t designed to fight in the high-end spec war anyway. They are instead designed to show what a phone can do with an OS based on open web standards.

Source: The Tech Gets

Hacking Firefox OS Apps with Github Pages

While planning a workshop for Dare2BDigital, a technology conference for young women, Lukas and I were looking for an easy way for girls to edit and test their own Firefox OS apps. We were trying to think of where we could host these apps when we decided to try using Github pages.

I’d never actually made a Github page before, but I learned it’s as easy as making a magically named “gh-pages” branch in your repo. To experiment, I decided to test this out on a simple wallpaper app I’ve been working on.

$ git checkout master
$ git checkout -b gh-pages
$ git push origin gh-pages

And voila! My app showed up at This seems great for development because you can just push changes to the gh-pages branch to update a hosted app. But as a bonus for our workshop, we found you can easily modify the app by hitting the “Edit” button at the top of a file on Github, then committing your changes through the web interface.

Note: After the first push it can take up to 10 minutes for the page to appear. So be patient.

Firefox OS ?

В сети появились фото и характеристики планшета для разработчиков на Firefox OS.

Любителям экзотики (и гикам) может приглянуться. По видимому, определенную часть аудитории Android эта операционная оболочка может переманить на свою сторону.

Массовому же потребителю будет все-равно, андроид в его гаджете или файрфокс, главное чтобы было красиво и не тормозило. Android приложения работают и в Firefox OS.

ZTE Open Y Firefox OS

Con la inminente salida de Firefox OS (Realmente Ya Salio, Esto Tenia Tiempo en Borradores) y el primer teléfono que integrara este OS de Forma nativa, creo que es necesario que yo de mi opinión de él, para ayudar a esas personas que están pensando hacerse con un Smartphone y le estén haciendo ojitos a sistema operativo o solo por el hecho de que me gusta hablar mal de las cosas

Nota: No he probado el Teléfono, ni el OS, todo lo que hablo es conforme a lo visto en internet, leyendo diferentes opiniones, y esas cosas, si tengo el gusto de probar el teléfono, seguro esto queda peor

Esto Seguro Que Puedo Estar Equivocado, Pero Esta es mi Impresion, Hasta el Momento

Primero, Firefox OS está muy verde, algo similar a cuando las primeras versiones de Androide? o quizás peor?, No estoy seguro, pero eso es algo que entiendo perfectamente, veo en el ideas “Nices”, e ideas prestadas tipo “ve todo a la izquierda para buscar”… enserio? quieren que lo demande Apple?

En General el OS no me termina de gustar, pero esto puede ser porque este verde!, el rendimiento es pesimo, las app para el…. bueno, yo no confio en el rendimiento de aplicaciones HTML5 en esa clase de procesadores, y parece que tengo razon…. anyway, el sistema puede mejorar, solo mira cuando ha cambiado Android en todo este tiempo! y iOS!! Este último impresionante, el otro día cambiaron el tipo de fuente y los usuarios se molestaron…. suerte allí Apple…. o también puede ser por culpa del teléfono

Si! el teléfono!, Ese Dispositivo, que no llamare Smartphone, porque eso para mí, aun no es un Smartphone

El telefono y su Hardware, El Hardware y el Telefono……..El hardware del teléfono, es… como decirlo…..demasiado low end!…y mucho mas Low End para para un teléfono flagship de un sistema operativo nuevo, y esto no es culpa de ZTE! que aunque no lo crean, esos chinos pueden hacer cosas de calidad, es problema de toda la OpenSourcividad del Proyecto y su target! Que Me Toca Los….. pero hablare de eso luego, hablemos del hardware….

Es Feo, ok?,no es cuco ni nada, parece una pastilla de jabon con un LCD, el LCD no tiene ángulos de visión tiene “Angulo” de visión, que es solo AL FRENTE, es como volver a los Primeros Paneles a Color de la tecnología celular!, Calidad de los Speakers? Vamos pasando…..

Tambien es de Plastico… Pero plastico!, parece ser un plastico Dificil De disimular de que se trata de un pedazo de excremento en el que un Leño se encuentra Alojado  en su interior, solo tienes que ver la cara de todos cuando le toca hablar de la calidad de los materiales, “plasticucho”, se puede quedar alli

Luego tiene un botón de Home…… Por qué Poner solo un botón de Home, Redondo y al centro? Por qué quieren que los demande apple! que otra razón tendrá!, Coño los teléfonos de desarrollo tenían 4 botones Like Android, pero noo, firefox es guay, Pongamos un Boton! Así parecerá más Iphone y confundiremos a las abuelitas!

*ejercicios de respiración*

Bueno ya…. esto tiene que tener un motivo todo esto!, ¿Por qué telefónica le da tanto apoyo a algo así?, por el sucio y cochino dinero

El target de esto… Que es? Obviamente no va por el mercado de ios ni de Android, muchos menos el de Windows Phone….Esto va enfocado a los mercados “emergentes”, a Gente que no sabe, a Pobres Ignorantes que le quieren meter un plan de datos y obligarlo a usar software creado por voluntarios que pensaban que cambiarían el mundo (Y no lo hacen bien), cuando en realidad estaba siendo controlado por las organizaciones internacionales que quizás tanto odien!!!!!

OHHHH NOooo…. NO puedo seguir hablando de esto, es como un OUYA sin Kickstarter y de la Mano de Sony, donde Usando Palabritas como “Open Source” y “HTML5” un tipo de mercadeo cree que se la esta comiendo cuando le va a joder la vida a un monton de usuarios!

Es una Verdadera….. Cosa Mala!, NO Compren eso! Lo unico es atractivo es su precio, el resto son solo decepciones! AL menos de Momento, igual Podria Mejorar?… Bromeo, dificilmente mejorara

Espero estar equivocado…..