New primary smartphone - personal journey

After one year on Geeksphone Keon as my primary device I’m now switching to other mobile device.

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Firefox OS is still a young developing operating system. I’ve been using Firefox OS 1.1. on Geeksphone Keon. Few things that I like on this phone are good battery life (3 days) and small form factor of the device. Firefox OS 1.1 doesn’t support notifications and that was a big plus. Why? Because I’ve found out that I’m much more productive when I’m not constantly on my phone checking email and social media notifications. You should really try and turn off all your notifications on all your devices, I’m sure you’ll come to the same conclusion as I did.

I also have Geeksphone Peak device which is much better if you compare device specs. Keon only has 3.5” screen and Peak has 4.3” screen. Peak also has more RAM and a lot better dual-core processor with front 2-megapixel and back 8-megapixel camera. I’m using Peak for testing the latest nightly versions of Firefox OS. It’s a good phone but I’ve never used it as my primary phone. Keon is small, practical and simply does the job.

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I’ve also bought the ZTE Open device which also runs Firefox OS. This device is similar than Geeksphone Keon if we compare the specs. This phone was intended for my mother. This was her first smartphone. She is still using it and I was surprised how quickly she learned to use the device (having switched from feature phone).

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Last week I got a new Firefox OS phone. Called Flame, the reference device. When I first opened the box I was really impressed with the build quality. The device really feels like a premium device (if you compare it with Samsung Andoroid based high-end phones). This device has similar specs than Geeksphone Peak with more RAM (1GB). You can also adjust the RAM to simulate the use of lower-end devices and optimize your apps. That’s really nice feature. The device also supports two SIM cards and NFC. When booting the device the operating system was smooth and worked really good.

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I’m not a fan of big (or should I say huge) phones. Flame has 4.5” screen and Geeksphone Peak has 4.3” screen. Even though the Flame has bigger screen than Peak the device is smaller. The decision was made. I’ll be using Flame as my primary device because it’s really good looking, with great specs. Firefox OS is really smooth on this device. This phone comes with Firefox 1.3 installed which supports notifications (but I’ve turned them off).

And that’s my personal journey with Firefox OS smartphones.

Till next time …

Cheers, Nino Vranešič

Enabling the Open Web with Speech API

Do you know Apple’s Siri or Microsoft Cortana? Than you are gonna love Speech API. Why? Because it will not only help you on your Firefox OS but on any device that can use the power of Open Web.

Speech recognition on any modern handset is almost a standard feature. So let’s take a look at a few demos of new API.

1) The Crab

2) Voicity

3) Emscripten Offline recognition

4) ChatterThing

And here is the latest demo that is similar to Cortana or Siri. Keep in mind that this is only a demo of soon to be included feature on Firefox OS.

Till next time …

Cheers, Nino Vranešič

Gesture navigation on Firefox OS tablets

Firefox OS uses some innovative solutions that are really useful. In my last blog post about Foxconn InFocus F1 tablet you can find more info about tablet which we use for development and testing.

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Foxconn tablet doesn’t have button to close the app and switch between apps. Currently all Firefox OS phones, that are available on the market, have one button at the bottom of the screen.

To navigate on your tablet you can use gestures.

1) One finger swipe up - go to home screen.

2) Two fingers swipe up - see open apps and navigate between apps.

There is also one great feature called edge swipe navigation - you can drag from the left or right edge of the screen to jump between apps.

This feature is/will also be available for Firefox OS on mobile phones.

I find this features very useful, what about you? Tell me your opinion in the comments below.

Till next time…

Cheers, Nino Vranešič

Foxconn InFocus New Tab F1, Firefox OS tablet

Foxconn is known as the maker of iPhone and it’s rumored that they will also make iPhone 6.

In 2013 Taiwanese Foxconn launched an InFocus brand in China. InFocus brand develops, manufactures and distributes DLP and LCD projectors and smarthpones/tablets.

So let’s take a look at first tablet that will only be used for testing and development and will not be available publicly for purchase.

On the picture we can see that the tablet doesn’t have any physical buttons near the screen. 

This is how this 10” tablet looks inside. We can see that it uses McNair battery with 7000 mAh. If we remove all parts we can see the main PCB board with CPU and GPU.

If we take a closer look we can see that it has A31 chip. Allwinner A31 is a high performance quad-core chip that has been designed and optimized for a wide range of products from eBook readers to gaming consoles. It was released in 2013 and is marked as low power, high performance platform with wide range of connectivity options.

Allwinner uses ARM Cortex-A7 the GPU part is powered by PowerVR SGX544MP2. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 P5200 also uses the same SGX544MP2 GPU chip.

Competitors often go to extreme lengths to compete and show what their CPU or GPU is capable of. This gives an unrealistic impression of what the chip is actually capable of. When users buy tablet or phone they get much lower CPU clock speeds. Ramping up CPU clock would also rise temperature and we’ve seen in many cases that even a high performance tablet quickly becomes impossible to hold in your hands (because of heat). PowerVR is using lower CPU clocks which results in longer battery life and lower device temperatures.

Allwinner A31 and integrated PowerVR chip are capable of processing video up to 2160p (3840X1080 at 30fps, 4K resolution or 1080p 3D).

The InFocus F1 tablet processor is set to 1.2Ghz (quad-core). The screen resolution is 1280X800 on 10.1” (IPS) capacitive multi-touch screen. It also features dual cameras, front 2MP and back 5MP. System memory is 2GB DD3. Storage capacity of the device is 16GB but can also be expanded by micro SD card (up to 32GB). Built-in sensors are G sensor, light sensor, Gyroscope sensor. Device also has GPS with GLONASS support. Tablet has two built in stereo speakers.

Next blog post will be the review of this device and my first impressions.

Till next time …

Cheers, Nino Vranešič

Firefox OS journey, next step tablets

If you don’t know what Firefox OS is than this is probably your first visit of this blog (in that case, welcome!).

So what’s Firefox OS? It’s a new operating system from Mozilla and it comes with a mix of excitement, fear and vision. Why Firefox OS? Because we need open alternatives to closed sourced systems. We need freedom for smartphones. 

Firefox OS is still very young, it’s only one year on the market. Currently  Firefox OS is available in 17 countries around the world with more to come soon. Next month we are releasing a cheap smartphone based on Spreadtrum chip that makes it all possible for just 25$!

At first Firefox OS was targeted for mobile devices. But the momentum of first open operating system build with Web technologies quickly spread across different devices. You can now buy cheap computers powered by Firefox OS operating system build by APC.

APC Rock

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and APC Paper.

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Panasonic also announced that they will make smart TVs which will use Firefox OS. Merwan Mereby, Panasonic’s US Vice President said that “There are no other alternatives that are truly open” and that’s the reason why they decided to use Firefox OS for their TV devices.

We are also working on streaming device similar to Google’s Chromecast which is also powered by Firefox OS.

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While Google has an SDK for Chromecast (with limitations about the types of apps), Firefox OS device is based on Open Web technologies, that don’t have such limitations.


We have also just started a new project that aims to accelerate the development of Firefox OS devices on tablets. Firefox OS on tablet is currently not the top priority. Why? Well simply because we have a limited resources.

So let’s take a look at some of the numbers. Mozilla is often compared to Google. So let’s take a look at number of employees for example. WolframAlpha is great tool for quick stats.

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The stats for Mozilla are a little outdated but we can still see the huge difference. But it’s one thing that Mozilla has and Google does not have - community with active contributors that are willing to spend their time to support the mission and to deliver open operating system based on Open Web technologies. Project that aims to bring Firefox OS to tablet form factor will be entirely community based, out in the open for everyone to see. This project is called TCP (Tablet Contribution Program).

For the development of Firefox OS on tablets we need a reference device to work on. Mozilla partnered up with Foxconn. Foxconn is a major manufactured that has catered to such companies as Apple, Dell, HP, Motorola, Nintendo, Nokia and Sony. The new iPhone 6 will be made by Foxconn (you might also read this).

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First Firefox OS Tablet has the following specifications:

- Processor: ARM Cortex A7 Quad-Core 1.2GHz

- RAM: 2GB

- Storage: 16GB

- Screen: 10.1"

More detailed info about tablet will be posted in the following days.

But let’s not stop here! I’ll just use this quote from Jan Jongboom: “What about a Firefox OS based doorbell system over bluetooth? A jacket tracker with GPS in case you go out and your jacket gets jacked? A small device that tracks how much you drink during a party? Home surveillance using a network of phones and a bluetooth speaker for an alarm?”

A lot of exciting new projects that could be build using Firefox OS.

Till next time…

Cheers, Nino Vranešič

First Webmaker workshop in new season successfully finished

First Webmaker event has gathered a small but enthusiastic group of people willing to learn new things. So let’s take a look at some of the projects that were developed on this workshop.

And also:

Open Web app was made with AppMaker:

Next Webmaker event will be in Cyberpipe on 30th of August 2014.
There are no free tickets left, but be prepared to jump in if someone cancels his ticket!



Till next time …

 

New season of Mozilla Webmaker workshops

After a successful first Webmaker workshop in our Mozilla Space last year in November 2013, where 80 people learned about Web and Web technologies, we have a new season underway.

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We are joining global camping called Maker Party. Maker Party is Mozilla’s global campaign to teach the web. First location for our workshop will be in the capital city of Slovenia, Ljubljana. We have teamed up with Si.mobil, one of the biggest mobile network operators in Slovenia. They have offered us free space in one of their offices in the center of Ljubljana.

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After just 24 hours the free workshop that will be held on 16th of August 2014 was sold out. We had to react quickly and set up another workshop in Ljubljana on 30th of August in Cyberpipe.

They have a new place so this will be our first time having an event there. We have announced this event yesterday and today there are only a few free tickets left. Amazing!

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Even though that people are on holidays we are thrilled to see so many people that want to learn about the Web and create something on the Web. And it looks like girls are more interested in our workshop than boys as there are just a few guys that applied!

So join us and get the last free tickets here:

Eventbrite - Mozilla Webmaker - Kiberpipa Ljubljana

Till next time …

Cheers, Nino Vranešič

Sneak peak of Firefox OS 2.1 (Nightly)

Firefox OS is slowly maturing. It’s also looking great! Mozilla Slovenia team is also working on localization of Firefox OS. So here are a few photos of 2.1 Nightly version in Slovenian language.

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Till next time …

Cheers, Nino Vranešič

My blog turned 2 years today!

My blog turned 2 years today!