Mozilla shows off developer phones for Firefox OS

firefoxphone Mozilla has just announced that they’ve got two “Developer Preview Phones” in the works which will run on their own Firefox OS. Both are made by relatively unknown Spanish company Geeksphone. The orange phone above is known as the Keon, and has 3.5-inch touchscreen and has a 3-megapixel camera on the back. It comes with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, and runs one of Qualcomm’s 1Ghz Snapdragon CPUs. The white model is called the Peak, and has higher specs than the Keon, with a 4.3-inch screen, 1.2Ghz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU and an 8-megapixel camera, though it has the same storage and RAM. It runs on a 1800mAh battery, slightly larger than the Keon’s 1580mAh cell.

Mozilla didn’t mention anything to do with price or  a specific release date, but Digixav understands that the Keon will start shipping next month.

These handsets clearly aren’t going to set the world alight, and it seems as though Firefox might be targeting developing markets with cheaper smartphones. Software-wise, from a purely visual perspective the home screen looks very similar to the iOS one, simply with circular icons instead of Apple’s square ones. We have to say that it is a big disappointment that Mozilla couldn’t have found a fresh or innovative design rather than slightly altering one which is five years old.

Firefox OS works very differently to current mobile operating systems. The processors might seem tiny compared to the quad-core beasts powering the latest phones, but Mozilla have tried to make it so the phones don’t need huge processors to run smoothly. The big thing that sets it apart from rivals, however, is that Firefox OS doesn’t do native apps. What might look like native apps on the phone are actually website bookmarks. This means it can all be written in HTML5, which could be a big boost for some developers. This is a certainly a huge step Mozilla have taken, and it will be interesting to see how the consumer market responds. Mozilla reckons that we’re not doing apps right at present, and we could lose the wonderful open web we currently take for granted.

Here at Digixav we’ll certainly be watching closely to see whether Firefox OS can make a significant impact on the smartphone audience. With an Ubuntu mobile operating system on the way, it will be very interesting to see whether this new breed of open source software can have the desired impact on the iOS and Android dominated market.

Via Wired

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No matter how hard I try, I can’t stop hating Microsoft

The title of this article is a little misleading, as those of you who read my posts, follow me on Twitter or know me in person will know that I love Microsoft. Windows Phone is my phone platform of choice, I would never consider using anything but a Windows computer, and the thing that I want most in the world right now is a 15.6″ one of these. But even with all the love I bear for the love-child of Ballmer and Gates, there are a large number of things about them which annoy me.

The first and foremost of these annoyances is with Zune. As a Windows Phone user, I am forced to use Zune in order to update, add music and video to and do a large number of other things to, my phone. This is fine, I can add and take away music to and from my phone quickly and easily, and updates will automatically commence if they are available. But when I got my HP Pavilion dv7 with Beats Audio, I began to play music through my laptop, whereas previously I had been using speakers connected to my phone. It soon dawned upon me that Zune, a beautiful piece of software, is one of the buggiest pieces of crap since Windows Media Player. Quite often while playing music, the song will randomly pause, move to a different point or just skip altogether, and on occasion I have closed Zune to find that the song that was playing doesn’t stop playing, much to my teacher’s dismay. When this is Skrillex, chemistry lessons can be quite awkward. What the hell is up with that? A company whom incorporated software into its very name can’t be bothered or is unable to iron out the bugs in their music software. Even iTunes, something which is essentially designed to work on a different operating system and much maligned on Windows, is nowhere near as buggy. This being said, with the Zune name being dumped, and the software being incorporated into the OS, I surely hope that for Windows 8’s sake that at least some of the bigger glitches will be ironed out.

And secondly, what is the point in Windows Media Player any more? The whole thing is utter crap and nobody in their right mind would ever use it. I mean seriously, software that causes computers to blue-screen (I speak through personal experience) through use is not right in any way. And if any person out there does use this utter piece of crap, please explain to me in the comments below why you would put yourself through it. Please.

My final point is the most obvious one. Internet Explorer. This is in every way the single most hated piece of software out there. It is crap, it crashes, freezes and is only there for sane people to download either Firefox or Chrome. And, to make matters worse, you have to have specific permission from Microsoft to be able to uninstall the software. Of course, you can do what both I and Xavier (our EIC) have done and bury it deep within our program files, but it will always be there, taunting you with the possibility that you may one day, have to use it.

So those are the main reasons that Microsoft pisses off even myself, a true Microsoft fanboy. Despite the wonders of things like the Arc Touch Mouse, SkyDrive and Windows Phone, Microsoft isn’t perfect, but by ironing out the bugs and listening to consumers, they could get pretty close.

Add-on of the Week: Spool

First off, Spool, an innovative new add-on available on Firefox and Chrome, as well as being an app on iOS and Android. Think Instapaper but for EVERYTHING. Any media: video, text, pictures, all collected at the touch of a button and uploaded to the Spool servers, where you can enjoy them offline, on any supported device ‘in a clear format’. Using an innovative new ‘spoolbot’, all data is captured without the ads. Although the bot sadly has to watch all video before it can be uploaded, it’s still very impressive.

Even better; fretting about whether that video you just spooled was in Flash and so can’t be watched on your iPhone? Don’t! Spool automatically converts everything to HTML5 and so can be enjoyed on any device supported. We hope for a Windows Phone version as well as quicker upload times in the future. Best of all, right now it is in free, private beta. Don’t hesitate, join up now. If your interested, that link will give both you and me a shorter time of being accepted as the more people invited, the quicker the invite.

Much obliged

CS

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