This is the phone that was launched in Spain. The Ebay version will be vanilla FxOS, unlocked and upgradable!
Also that phone is $100 in the US. To get the price in EU or most other markets multiply with an amount between 1.5 and 2
The price is the price at a Chinese webstore including shipping. Not sure about european custom fees, but wouldn't they apply to buying on ebay ?
Very few application vendors provide .apk's to install outside of Google Play and they don't provide them from other markets available internationally. f-droid has some applications but not a huge amount.
Basic functionality like Facebook, Twitter, 'sharing' photo's to social media,etc don't work if you can't install those apps.
What I ended up doing was installing Firefox (Mozilla provides apk's and it's available from f-droid) and using web apps.
Firefox OS on the other hand provides all this functionality out of the box.
Edit: and wouldn't it make sense to fork a version of android, like amazon did, to achieve openness and privacy , than to start over ?
For FxOS to really stand out in developing countries it would require a lot more than what it is providing now. In my opinion, since we are partly already doing communications for free trough Facebook and Twitter, something like P2P connections between the FxOS devices does sound doable for me, both for text and voice. In addition, if you could implement something like Twilio for actual calls it would strip down costs both for mainland and international calls. For reference, where I live calls trough Twilio are six to sixteen times cheaper than what my carrier can provide. This way, you would also avoid the need to sign a contract with a carrier. I believe that this form of carrierless phone would appeal to the crowd the FxOS is trying to reach.
1. Does the current admission by the US government of comprehensive NSA spying on the entire internet interest plain consumers? No, it doesn't. "Plain consumers" don't understand the implications nor the technology behind it. So to ask if a "plain consumer" would be interested in FxOS is to miss the point. The "plain consumer" does not have the knowledge to judge the issue and Mozilla is not trying to become a billion dollar corporation to rival Apple or Google.
2. The architecture of FxOS is completely different for a reason so IMO, no, it wouldn't make sense to fork Android.
This, for me, is what makes Firefox OS promising - apps are simply HTML pages that work pretty much as computer webapps work.
I can somewhat see the price argument, but that's tenuous, at best. Even in developing nations it's possible to get used or older, yet still relatively modern and still useful, Android and iOS devices quite inexpensively. They can run HTML5/JavaScritp/CSS apps, in addition to native apps.
Otherwise, only offering a small subset of functionality that has been offered by other devices for years now doesn't make me think of a word like "promising" when describing Firefox OS. Instead, I think of terms like, "extremely limited", "outdated", "obsolete from the start", and "pointless".
1. Most people don't need or want complexity like what you see from the typical low cost Android devices. Remember most of these people are still upgrading from Nokia style feature phones and aren't after a computer in your pocket (just yet).
2. Android in particular is really nasty at the low end. The quality of experience you would get from a tightly optimised and simplified Firefox OS would be immeasurably better. Again. You don't need to have X, Y and Z instead just have X implemented really, really well.
3. The barrier to entry and cost for developing HTML/JS apps is far lower than Java and Objective-C. You really do need a decent PC/Mac to program for either. And we all agree that custom, locally developed apps is vital.
Firefox OS is worse here, not better. Gingerbread runs far better on low end hardware than Firefox OS does. The later Android stuff is more demanding (particularly in RAM), but the performance target (60fps everywhere, low latency) is also much, much higher than what Firefox OS is capable of achieving.
Firefox OS is less efficient than iOS, Android, or WP. By a lot.
Or hell, just run Firefox on your existing Android device - that's all Firefox OS is in reality. Mozilla makes a bunch of claims about how it's "closer to the metal" or some such nonsense, but it isn't. It's not like Android runs all native code in a VM - it's as "close to the metal" as you can get, with the exception that system calls go to the kernel. Just as they do in Firefox OS. Particularly since Firefox OS is built on top of Android.
Can you please explain how Dalvik isn't a VM? Sorry if I am missing your point.
Are you referring to the NDK? I haven't used it but my understanding was that Dalvik is still used for UI and basic process control, while calling out to native code via JNI.
 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalvik_%28software%29
 - http://developer.android.com/tools/sdk/ndk/index.html
Source? I don't think this is the case
The lower-level "operating system" of b2g. Gonk consists of a linux kernel and userspace hardware abstraction layer (HAL). The kernel and several userspace libraries are common open-source projects: linux, libusb, bluez, etc. Some other parts of the HAL are shared with the android project: GPS, camera, among others. You could say that Gonk is an extremely simple linux distribution.
it seems that Android as a solution to the problem of a mobile phone is overshooting a big chunk of the market. in that sense I think FxOS is in a good position to disrupt the mobile space.
now how can I get my hands on a phone??
Breaking free from all of that and getting back to simple, well executed basics is the way to go IMHO.
2. I have the original Galaxy S and it runs CM 10 Jellybean like butter. Sure bloated skins like touchwiz can slow down phones, but there's nothing wrong with AOSP on similarity spec'd hardware.
3. So you're saying people who can't afford a low-end PCs will be developing web apps with their $79 FF OS phone/tablet? LOL. I can hardly wait for this new paradigm in mobile development.
This is why I'm looking forward to the Edge w/ its Ubuntu OS. It doesn't try to hide its Android heritage, even gives you the option to boot to AOSP. Also has a modern gesture based UI unlike Firefox's dated iOS rip off. And most importantly, on resource limited mobile device gives developers the option to write native apps.
> I also wonder about the wisdom of taking low-end hardware, where every bit of efficiency at the software level matters, and shackling it by not allowing third-party native code.
This is what asm.js and OdinMonkey are for. You're right that forbidding developers from getting the control that native code buys you is a nonstarter, but asm.js gives you that control.
(disclaimer, I work on Firefox OS)
Yes I'm sure you will 'submit' them as potential standards, but until the other vendors agree to them they are not standards. That is the huge and debilitating price that you pay by tying yourself to 'standards' - anything you want to do can be vetoed by your competitors. Anything not agreed upon is not a standard and can't be relied upon in a 'standards based' platform.
Some of these are already long on their way to being interoperable standards (getUserMedia), some of them may never be standardised, but that is the aim.
FirefoxOS is the standard for these devices at this point, and whatever they do is then standard.
The other mobile OSs already run webapps. What does FirefoxOS bring to the table other than price? Why will developers be attracted to a platform where the users only use it because they can't afford anything else?
I guess Mozilla thinks that there are devs picking between writing a native and html based app and that getting FirefoxOS support fairly easily by using HTML will sway that decision. I don't see that happening though since FirefoxOS users won't be spending much money on apps and there won't be comparable numbers of users any time soon; getting free iOS or Android support (whichever is your secondary market) is already a much more compelling argument for using HTML, but one that doesn't seem to be winning in the marketplace.
I think it depends on how you view it. Is it a browser that also happens to power the core of the OS, or is at an OS that also happens to be a browser? I don't think where it came from originally has any bearing in the answer.
Note that it won't be available on iOS, of course, as Apple won't let alternative browsers be installed, just skins for Mobile Safari like Dolphin and Google Chrome.
This is already the case - check out http://marketplace.firefox.com/ on desktop or android Firefox.
However - note that app developers can choose to only support certain form factors. Many do support desktop however, for example https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/pasjanssolitaire
Desktop does not support all of the new WebAPIs currently though (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/WebAPI), and certainly some may not be relevant on all platforms.
All of the API's are available via Gecko, the same Gecko that is used for desktop and android firefox, a lot of them already work on desktop (I have installed a few apps build for firefox os on my desktop).
To me it seems that a (relatively) high barrier to entry, and an approval process (in Apple's case), haven't really stopped lots of crappy apps from making it in.
Personally I'm all for lowering barriers to entry. It's arguably one of the greatest things about the web.
So the barrier needs to be lowered... why?
That just means that it's useless to browse your options in an alphabetical paginated view.
Also this is version one.
You're just bullying the new kid. One day he might grow up to kick your ass.
Windows Phone was version 7 and it didn't seem to make a difference. It's pretty safe to say that at this point, you need to make a splash or you're going to end up an afterthought. You can't just stumble in, you need to offer something compelling enough to convince others to get on board. Slow, evolutionary growth is fine for some things. It's not OK for a mobile OS launching in the year 2013.
Call it bullying the new kid all you want to rally support, we're just being realistic. When the vast majority of mobile phone users really couldn't care less about how "open" their phone OS is, FFOS brings little to the table except catering to amateur developers. Considering what is holding back OSes like Windows Phone isn't lack of apps from amateur developers, quite the opposite. They have those, but lack the heavy hitters.
I haven't heard "No thriving development environment for small developers" once when covering the downsides of Windows Phone. I have heard "No Instagram" about a thousand times. Maybe it's just me but I don't really remember an instance of any OS becoming popular by catering to small devs. It's a part, but it usually comes AFTER enticing users to come aboard. People didn't develop for iOS because Apple made it painfully easy for them, they developed for iPhone because millions of users bought them, said "Isn't this so cool, but I wonder if it could do <blank>?" and the rest is history.
Likewise, developers weren't chomping at the bit to go messing about in Eclipse, but millions and tens of millions of Android phones ended up in users hands. Suddenly, there was a market and then the popular apps came.
Windows CE 6 was the predecessor and it's nothing like Windows Phone. Completely separate products sharing only a kernel. And Windows Phone 8 doesn't even share the kernel.
FFOS brings three things to the table that noone else has and they are:
1. Price. They are dirt cheap. Most people out there can't afford to throw out what $600-800 on a handset. The only thing that is keeping these phones afloat is the telco contract that is subsidising the handset cost. Apart from the US, the rest of the world is pretty much handset and/or phone i.e. you can choose. I ALWAYS buy non locked handsets in cash and use cheap contracts. This is almost standard in Europe and the East. The only way paid up handsets can go is down and that's going to simply fuck up the market for high end devices. Giffgaff in the UK is demonstrating that - people are paying virtually nothing and buying cheaper WinPhone (620 is cheap!!) and budget Android handsets these days.
3. Reuse. A lot of apps can easily be repurposed for this development model. They can also be upscaled to web sites as well.
Hell, this is the scariest thing out there: cheap, easy with the potential to reuse stuff out there.
These WILL be ubiquitous.
As for: "no instagram". Instagram is a fad. It's not going to be around for years and years. If it pissed off tomorrow, noone would cry. Hell most people forget about it after a few days.
As for the iPhone's "isn't it cool" comment, hell it's a piece of shit to develop for, especially when the SDK documentation and publishing platform buggers off for a month and they treat their paid up customers like crap...
These will start at the bottom of the market (like Android) and will push upwards.
Remember Maslow? Look at the hierarchy. Instagram is meeting the need of community, the photo sharing is a tool to meet that need. Same thing as Hacker News. We're both here to talk about this stuff, even though forums are a solved problem right?
The world is not just about solving problems. That's actually the part people care the least about. Hence why you can solve the problem of writing code to make an app and get paid peanuts and why the 'Yet Another Photo Sharing App" is paying you to do it.
The topic of this conversation.
Now that it has, and people are starting to buy it, I don't think they're suddenly going to want less of what what they are paying for.
Wouldn't a global and long term perspective include other "not developed" countries entering the "developed" category and this "consumerist bubble" you mention?
It's turd polish around an already solved problem that's been solved a million times over.
The kind of life that ya'll are espousing, this I hole myself in the ground, I run the cheapest shit I can buy, to use low-quality apps that don't let me have any fun, to most people, is actually a very boring way to use the internet and computers in general, and something no one is willing to pay for, hence why no one but those weird few that use computers this way, and the occasional post talking about how they spent all day setting up their mail servers because data privacy ya'll that no one gives a damn about.
It's been solved countless times, and yet Instagram is indescribably more popular than the other options.
In other words, it really doesn't matter if some dev can throw it together in a couple hours because of HTML/JS. What matters is the polish, followed by the users. Notice none of that includes "make it easy for the developer".
> 1. Price. They are dirt cheap.
> Hell, this is the scariest thing out there: cheap, easy with the potential to reuse stuff out there.
> These WILL be ubiquitous.
But years of combined development experience. My point being they've had 7 chances to execute and still manage a very distant 3rd. I feel like the "it's only version 1" argument holds little water in a market that has thrown out even evolved OSes.
As for the rest, I simply disagree and did in my original post. I'm not disagreeing that they have those advantages, I just disagree that they have any real effect on consumer pickup.
> As for: "no instagram". Instagram is a fad.
Just like Facebook and mobile phone apps right? Everything is a fad to someone, that doesn't mean it's not critically important to a significant group that doesn't include them.
> As for the iPhone's "isn't it cool" comment, hell it's a piece of shit to develop for
Which for the record was my point if you had actually read my comment. Not easy to develop for, higher barrier to entry and developer unfriendly. I don't actually agree with those points but that is how iOS appears to you which helps my argument.
All those downsides, and where are the most apps, most developers and most money made? Right. So apparently, those advantages really aren't as important to most as they are to you.
Windows didn't get better and Linux didn't move fast enough. Hardware just got cheaper and people went where everyone else went, and Windows is dominant. I foresee the same thing happening with FFOS and Android.
You can get a Lumia 520 in the UK for £79 and it gives a better experience than an android for twice the amount or any Asha feature phone.
Skeptical questions on a discussion forum are not bullying. Moreover, it's hardly apt to suggest that the Firefox OS team, let alone Firefox OS itself, would retaliate. The fighting metaphor seems ill-considered and childish.
The fighting metaphor is childish as was the OP's comment and arguably yours which serves only to outline your supposed moral superiority rather than add anything constructive to the topic.
But I think the macho language of fighting (e.g. "kick your ass"), which glorifies retaliation over calm, logical discussion, needs to die, particularly on a forum like this.
Yeah, it evolved. But we're actually two steps ahead of the end of that page now. iOS & Android are leaps and bounds ahead of what they were at 1.0. Really the only point you've demonstrated is "Wouldn't FFOS be sweet compared to Android 1.x?" and the answer to that is yes, it would be. Android 1.x was terrible. But that isn't the landscape it's being judged against, and nor should it.
Not only that, FFOS wouldn't even be possible then. What made FFOS possible was the mobile revolution and renewed interest in pushing the limits of what ARM and associated mobile technologies could do. Turning 1GHz ARM chips into commodity hardware, which was the direct result of the growth of iOS & Android.
Will FFOS evolve and grow? Of course. The question is will it do so fast enough, well enough to catch up, exceed it's competitors in a manner that's so compelling, it stands a chance to actually gain a foothold? Judging by Windows Phone, WebOS, Symbian and Tizen, the answer is almost certainly no.
Let's not jump on FFOS neck especially in lieu of recent news. If anything it's way more open than Android is.
Not really, Android was ridiculed for its severe lack of polish and poor performance. iOS lacked plenty of features, arguably Android 1.5 surpassed it in terms of a bullet list of features, the experience was just awful.
I saw your point just fine and my comment related to it directly. The part you're ignoring is the landscape surrounding those two events. There simply weren't established players in the smartphone market at the time that bothered innovating.
Currently, there are. That makes what FFOS is trying to achieve in their 1.0 and what Android was trying to achieve in their 1.0 completely different and nearly incomparable, which was my point.
As for FFOS reaping the benefits of the ARM race, isn't that the same thing comparable to OSS developing due to MS hardware vendors race to bottom price and maximum performance?
This alone makes it far more difficult to write apps that perform well, especially those that are doing something that's resource-intensive.
Many developers working in the area of games or video and graphics decoding/encoding need access to native-level instruction sets to get maximum performance.
Nevermind that I have no desire to attempt to debug my emscripten-translated C/C++ application instead of just debugging the original source.
There's an entire ecosystem around supporting native apps in terms of tooling, debugging, libraries, etc. and FireFox
OS seems to ignore all of that.
Personally, I believe FireFox OS will fail in the mainstream market without native application support. I'd love it if they prove me wrong, but ignoring the need for native applications seems like an obvious mistake.
A well-coded native application can make or break its success on having access to the full functionality of the underlying platform.
SIMD work for asm.js is actively underway.
> Nevermind that I have no desire to attempt to debug my emscripten-translated C/C++ application instead of just debugging the original source.
Source maps are designed to solve this problem.
> There's an entire ecosystem around supporting native apps in terms of tooling, debugging, libraries, etc. and FireFox OS seems to ignore all of that.
For tooling, Emscripten offers very close analogues to the native toolchain—you invoke emcc. Since what you write is C, you can use all the static analysis tools, such as clang's static analysis framework, that you're used to. Debugging is currently more difficult, it is true. For libraries, just compile them along with your app with Emscripten.
Since then, JS has gotten about a billion times faster across pretty much all browsers. Also, "HTML5" was still woefully incomplete back then but browser vendors have since filled out support for key enabling technologies -- especially the wide variety of device access APIs that Apple never even tried to provide.
When I hear this refrain, I'm often tempted to ask how old the poster is because it seems to show a lack of historical knowledge of long-term Web trends.
Six years is a LONG time.
Go ahead. You might find there is a lot more to computing then web programming and not everyone works as a web developer.
1 billion = 10^9. If what you say is true, then the average length of JS code must have increased about 10^10, because despite increased bandwidth, most sites seem to run slower than they did 6 years ago. That is some pretty prodigious coding(8-))
Or maybe it's write delay caused by the NSA.
JS has gotten slightly faster, but not much. JS isn't really a bottleneck anyway.
Six years has also increased the pixel count by 10x (150k pixels in the iPhone 1 vs. 2 million in the SGS4). The hardware has barely gotten faster relative to pixel count, and in some respects (such as memory bandwidth) has gotten slower.
The web is no more viable on mobile today than it was 6 years ago. Web doesn't do efficient - never has, probably never will.
Not to mention, offering unlocked phones at such low prices, with potential feature parity (at least when the app ecosystem gets better) to iOS and Android is huge. I would personally love to never sign another long-term contract...
But it's an interesting project. Just not ready for the primetime yet.
I really don't get the negativity around Firefox OS or the Firefox browser. In regards to Firefox, I consider it the best browser right now; Chrome has many problems of its own and considering the resources that Google has, you'd think they would find a way to make Chrome be less of the resource hog that it is or to provide something like the awesome-bar or extensions for the Android version - and don't even get me started on iOS or Safary.
Truth of the matter is, Firefox OS directly benefits Firefox the browser, in ways that Android will never benefit Chrome - all APIs that are experimented in FxOS will make it in the browser, XUL is gone, the architecture is multi-process and better sandboxed, etc...
But, and I feel like I'm back in 2007 saying this about the first iphone, the lack of copy and paste is a deal breaker. Going back to a phone without it and not being able to copy a url into an email, paste a friends phone number to some one else in a txt, or have a reasonably useful password manager is much too far of a step back for me to take these days.
I'm hoping this is something the core team puts in before too long, https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=747798, but until then the phone is really useless to me for day to day.
By the way, I have a Geeksphone Peak and it works great, next month they're launching Geeksphone Peak+, it seems promising. Geeksphone is making much much better phones with FFOS than ZTE.
It is the whole purpose of the OS. Is this news?
The amount that this has proved true already is amazing, I have loved doing Firefox OS app days and seeing people spending a long time building phonegap / mobile web based applications and seeing it just work on Firefox OS, there is still a lot of work to be done but it really is the ubiquitous platform dream of mine come true.
I have 3 non web based apps that I use on a daily basis (iterm, emacs, spotify), emacs I am moving away from, spotify I will move to the web based player once we have hardware media keys support.
My ubiqutous web based dream is very close to true, I think momentum and history suggests that it is going to carry on moving in that direction.
And guess what? Sold only 799RMB at China which is about 135 dollars.
For simplicity, if I cut every feature listed half, and just assuming the price drops to half too, say 70 dollars. Compare to FFOS phone, which one will user pick?
This calculation surely is wrong. But my point is, the hardware is really cheap today, which makes the sweetest point of FFOS phone - the price - not that sweet.
Can't wait to get a look this thing! Finally something new and refreshing in the mobile-sector.
Right now what bothers me most is the lack of badges on icons, I'd really like to quickly see how many calls or messages I've missed, without going to the notification pull-down. A 24 hour clock wouldn't hurt either, and the organisation of the Music players is a bit off (no albums under artists, pretty but useless main view etc.). In my release you can't control it from the lock screen, either, but I think that's going to be in the next version, judging from the wireframes.
If there is anyone in London looking for a phone, send me a mail.