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Mozilla Cellphones Operating Systems

Firefox OS 1.3 Arrives: Dual SIM Support, Continuous Autofocus, Graphics Boost 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today released Firefox OS version 1.3 to its partners for implementing in their smartphones. There are many new features for both users and developers, and the first phone to feature them is the ZTE Open C, which is available for sale as of today on eBay. First and foremost, Firefox OS users can expect dual-SIM dual-standby (DSDS) support, which gives you two lines on compatible phones, a popular feature in emerging markets. DSDS lets dual-SIM devices individually manage two different SIMs for calling, texting, or data through the 'SIM Manager' interface."
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Firefox OS 1.3 Arrives: Dual SIM Support, Continuous Autofocus, Graphics Boost

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  • Dual SIm's Why? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    With Google Voice, skype, Takatone, and the like (not to mention call forwarding), you can already have multiple lines ring on the same single smartphone in your pocket.

    • Re:Dual SIm's Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FatAlb3rt (533682) on Friday May 09, 2014 @04:58PM (#46962573) Homepage
      company phone & personal phone?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Mod parent up. Smart phones won't be smart to me until they can support any number of phone numbers, and do it well. I have a lot of different projects going on, with different numbers, and I don't want multiple devices.

        • by mythosaz (572040)

          You can support at least two numbers using Google Voice, your own number and your GV number.

          Also, dual SIM phones are readily available, so that ups you to four numbers, if you use GV.

          Five numbers is going to require some sort of VoiP solution on the device as well.

      • by jopsen (885607)
        Indeed, or one for each country... Especially when travelling around in Europe... Or living in the US, but still have a Danish phone number and simcard I want to maintain :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Because there exist places where data plans are expensive and voice plans are selectively cheap. Say you regularly call people on two different carriers, both of which offer cheap plans with a "free minutes for calls between our customers" feature. Or you found one carrier with cheap data, but want to make your voice calls on another...

      Basically it's for those messy markets with some actual competition. So, not North America.

      • One very simple use case is to have one personal number and one work/professional number. If in a country that has cheap voice plans (and free SMS), especially if it's no longer cheap only when calling within a network, then you can have them both for less than a single plan would cost in the US.
        If you can afford a data plan, you can have one I suppose without needing two of them.

        If you live near a border or otherwise cross one often, that's another case where it makes sense to have two SIMs. Else you would

      • Re:Dual SIm's Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Frohboy (78614) on Friday May 09, 2014 @05:47PM (#46962919)

        Mod parent up

        Having lived in an emerging market (Romania) for six years, I knew several people who would carry around multiple feature phones, or a smartphone and a feature phone, just so they could use prepaid SIM cards from two different networks, so they could call all of their friends and family "in network".

        I was using a prepaid SIM from Orange, and for 5 Euros/month, I had 3000 minutes/month to other Orange numbers and 100 minutes/month to other networks/landlines. As it happens, everyone I wanted to call was on Orange, so I was fine. However, I knew people who would pay 5 Euros/month to Orange, and another 5 Euros/month to Cosmote. For 10 Euros/month, they had effectively unlimited calling to everyone they wanted to call, but needed to carry a second phone (or swap SIMs to call on the correct network).

        • Sheesh...and they say cell phone service in the US is bad. Granted I pay more, but with t-mobile, $22 a month lets me call anywhere in the US from anywhere in the US with zero restrictions. I also have unlimited data and texts from anywhere to anywhere in the world (well...anywhere except from cruise ships and a small number of backwater countries I'd never see myself either going to or calling anyways, which is mainly a symptom of these particular areas charging their own embargoes to EVERYBODY, including

    • Google Voice is US only, maybe Canada.
      Skype is proprietary and needs data plan.. and you need to pay for placing calls to real phones? That was the original business model at least.

      • You don't need Google Voice or Skype. There are plenty of dirt-cheap SIP providers out there. Cynnagenmod and a few phones with stock Android has a working SIP stack (I know some phones have it disabled, for those there are SIP apps). I personally don't have a SIM-card in my phone anymore. That is mostly to avoid the tracking involved with using those, your personal preferences may vary. I do not get to make phone calls when walking from place to place but I do get to call others who use SIP free and the re
        • most local public places also have one, there's even wifi on local busses here

          Nice in your city but is that generally true worldwide?

          Wifi is ubiquitous these days but (OMG! terrorists) I rarely see open access points. Local coffee shops may offer free wifi but most places I need 3G connectivity.

          • There's quite some public and semi-public (needing codes, leeching from ISP customers) wifi where I live but it may be unreliable, may be too slow or disconnect and of course will be plain unavailable if you're not at the right place.
            It may work.. But how do you receive calls? Only would work when you connect to access points and have reliable service. So you're uncallable most of the time and rely on others having a real mobile phone so you can call them. But it's an interesting way to deal with the absenc

  • Can anyone show me some doc on how long the Open C will get official updates for?

  • Wow. Nokisoft limited but *again* decreasing, earned share in western Europe by being the cheapest (its flagship *giggle* phones none existent) is now challenged with a real (I mean unsubsided mass marketed) great value smartphones. I hope Micro$oft the bully fails again with carriers and allows competition against the Android Platform (iOS exists only through the power of baby unicorn farts, and simply a different market). Seriously enough is enough, and Firefox fighting upwards with compelling dual sim te

  • by WaffleMonster (969671) on Friday May 09, 2014 @05:58PM (#46962987)

    Today we have quad core multi-ghz CPUs with gigabytes of memory and 1080 displays. Having installed Linux from floppies on hardware orders of magnitude less capable is it now really too much to ask to have UI execute from a real non-nerf'd operating system?

    Why can't I compile and run whatever software that will run on desktop on my phone?

    • by Jmc23 (2353706)
      You obviously can't do that because you lack the knowledge.

      Meanwhile, others are porting software all the time.

    • by dos1 (2950945) on Friday May 09, 2014 @06:42PM (#46963275)

      Why not? I'm doing that on my Openmoko Neo Freerunner for past 6 years. Same on Nokia N900, OpenPhoenux GTA04 and soon Neo900.

      If you choose to buy crippled, locked-down phones, then you're the only one to blame.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        lol "Openmoko Neo Freerunner for past 6 years" - and I use my Palm lllc instead! Same functunality really.. minus gsm (2g) part...
        but I must give props to Openmoko - they went further then anyone else, and Freerunner was infact a first almost open phone (minus baseband part)

        Jmc23 "Meanwhile, others are porting software all the time." blah.. example?
        if you talking about cynogen mode or something, you didn't understand what WaffleMonster ment.

        WaffleMonster - becasue there is no public/open besaband..
        un

    • In what way is your mobile OS nerf'd? And do you want a mobile OS that takes up 5GB of your root partition for features like projector attachment, .NET support, support for *insert whole graphical library for just one application here* and use cases that 99.99% of us will never use?

      What features are you missing on your phone?

      • Funnily, some phones do support output to a projector (via some micro HDMI or MHL thing, perhaps Displayport in the future) and Windows Phone uses .NET - perhaps that not worse than feature phones using Java a decade ago.

    • by Teckla (630646)

      Why can't I compile and run whatever software that will run on desktop on my phone?

      Because that's not a useful feature for 99.9% of the market.

      • Why can't I compile and run whatever software that will run on desktop on my phone?

        Because that's not a useful feature for 99.9% of the market.

        I think you left off about ten 9s in your estimate there.

        To the OP: Go buy a RaspberryPI + battery and leave my phone alone. It will safely fit under your neck beard where no one will ever see it.

    • Because your finger is too fat. No, I'm not insulting you, I'm just pointing out there's a difference between a UI designed for a relatively "accurate" mouse pointer (also with buttons), and one that involves a half inch oval of flesh-covered-bone pushing on glass.

      Also, you know, size. As in either the font is going to be tiny, or the fact that the UI is designed for the full height of a 14" (if you're lucky) screen is going to mean you can't see most of any dialog boxes that come up on your 4" touchphon

    • That is where the market is heading. It is converging.

      True Windows 8 did not get it right, but other MS which sucked like Windows, Windows NT, sql server, IE, VC++, were not overnight successes either. Also X Window managers blew goatballs too when they were new too. Then came XFCE, KDE, and Gnome developed years later. Gnome 3/shell is the first and it will mature too and is heading in the same direction. On the Apple side iOS is really MacOSX tuned for smaller devices, and Android is a mobile version of l

  • by marciot (598356) on Friday May 09, 2014 @06:28PM (#46963171)

    Humor has it Apple's next iPhone will support dual-SIM too, but you'll have to buy a dongle that hangs off the lightning port for the extra SIM card.

  • Why Firefox OS? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jez9999 (618189) on Friday May 09, 2014 @07:04PM (#46963413) Homepage Journal

    I know this seems like a rather basic question, but why did Mozilla decide to create B2G? I mean, "everything is a web app"? So fucking what, does that give every app some more intrinsic value because it has "web" in the title?

    The way I see it, they've taken valuable resources away from supporting useful projects like a standalong mail client (Thunderbird) and internet suite (SeaMonkey) and pissed them away developing Yet Another Mobile OS. I'm probably going to go for an Android phone for my next phone. Why would I go with Firefox OS? It's less mature, and I see nothing about its fundamental nature that makes it better than Android.

    More "open"? Look at who wrote most of it's specs - it's Mozilla and Google. At the end of the day, if Mozilla stop supporting it, you're screwed. Just like if Google stop supporting Android, you're screwed. Why B2G ever got off the drawing board is a mystery.

    • by plover (150551)

      Worse, it'll probably ship with Firefox 29.

    • More "open"? Look at who wrote most of it's specs - it's Mozilla and Google. At the end of the day, if Mozilla stop supporting it, you're screwed. Just like if Google stop supporting Android, you're screwed. Why B2G ever got off the drawing board is a mystery.

      The code itself is open, contrary to android [arstechnica.com], and the hardware requirements are much lower (hence, lower cost).

      • All true, and a great article. Still, I already bought a couple Kyocera Hydro water-proof cell Android Smartphones for $50 or so each, and hardware costs are falling fast, so it is not clear that OS footprint matters much in the USA, although maybe in Africa and China and India it still does.

        That said, Mozilla could instead have focused on its XPCOM technology to ride above the OS in a cross-platform way (somewhat like VIsualWorks Smalltalk or now Qt or some others):
        https://developer.mozilla.org/... [mozilla.org]
        https:// [mozilla.org]

        • Well as a followup, I got a generic email yesterday from Mozilla saying I did not get the Mozilla "Software Engineer, Platform" job. Fast turn-around considering I applied last week -- probably not related to this post saying Firefox the app was more import than Firefox OS, but I'll never know? Kind of sad, as it can be hard to find well-paying mostly-work-from-home gigs -- especially doing righteous and interesting non-profit-y stuff like Mozilla does. Such jobs are very few and far between. I felt the sam

          • I'd like to think it's unrelated to this post; especially considering what Mozilla stands for.

        • All true, and a great article. Still, I already bought a couple Kyocera Hydro water-proof cell Android Smartphones for $50 or so each, and hardware costs are falling fast, so it is not clear that OS footprint matters much in the USA, although maybe in Africa and China and India it still does.

          Great! So these lower costs will also reflect on Mozilla's device. Won't you be glad the day they mass-produce these and they cost less than 50USD? (by the way, 50USD can be a few days or even a week's salary in some places of the world).

          That said, Mozilla could instead have focused on its XPCOM technology to ride above the OS in a cross-platform way (somewhat like VIsualWorks Smalltalk or now Qt or some others):
          https://developer.mozilla.org/... [mozilla.org]
          https://developer.mozilla.org/... [mozilla.org]

          And Mozilla could also develop democracy-empowering apps and standards on top of that XPCOM platform for everyone, including ones for collective civic sensemaking and a semantic desktop like I talk about here:
          http://www.phibetaiota.net/201... [phibetaiota.net]

          If I was leading Mozilla, that is what I would have focused more on. Firefox OS on a Smartphone or elsewhere is a great idea in theory, but seems like a nonstarter in practice as far as *extensive* adoption in the Western world (even if I myself might buy a phone with Firefox OS on it preferentially for FOSS and privacy reasons).

          That's why they're not targeting traditional western markets, but emerging and underdeveloped ones.

          Google succeeded against iOS with mobile phones from nothing to 80% Smartphone market share in a few years because Google had deep pockets and a lot of good will at the time and was at the beginning of an exponentially growing marketplace. Mozilla may have the good will (although not at the scale Google had then among consumers) but it does not have the deep pockets. It also faces an entrenched mobile Smartphone landscape at this point with Android. Plus it does not have a compelling broad service offering like Google had with search and gmail to go with the phone

          That's your prespective. A lot of peope will see if from the other end "oh, good, it's not tied to google's services and I can use my existing email accounts and stuff".

          What money Mozilla has is almost entirely coming from Google (about a billion dollars total over the last few years), where only about a million a year is in individual donations. While there is a lot a few sharp developers could do if funded with even just a million dollars in donations a year, if Google pulls the plug on Mozilla's funding if Firefox OS were to even hint of being a successor for any other reason, where does that leave Firefox OS? Probably not stuff I should be saying in public given I just applied for a "Software Engineer, Platform" job at Mozilla, but what the hey. :-)
          http://careers.mozilla.org/en-... [mozilla.org]

          I love the Mozilla mission of FOSS software to support open standards (with the exception I feel Mozilla made a big mistake on not backing WebSQL built on SQLite as a defacto standard). However, getting people to *install* anything as an uphill battle, let alone buy anything.

          Yes, getting users to install stuff is imposible (unless it's virus.exe). I'm not certain they'll succeddin android-dominated markets, and least not in the short run. But there's plenty of other markets.

          That's a big reason web-browser-hosted software is winning over the desktop and why I'm moving more of what I do in that direction. Even Alan Kay and Dan Ingalls moved that way with the "Lively Kernel" because they could not get many people to download Squeak. And getting people to install a full OS is an even bigger battle. Plus there are other groups making alternative phone platforms (Ubuntu, Android forks, WebOS from HP, more). So, given limited funding available for FOSS web stuff, and also given Mozilla has other great initiatives worthy of more support including "Webmaker," it is sad to see so much Mozilla resources and mental bandwidth go into something like Firefox OS that seems unlikely to gain much traction given the computing landscape we now have. And instead, the core Mozilla applications like Firefox and Thunderbird languish relatively speaking as far as bug fixes and innovation. The biggest change just recently with Firefox is it looks more like Chrome... As a "lazy" developer, what I *want* is a platform where I can really write code once and deploy everywhere in every format. XPCOM offers that in theory, and so is of great interest to me and other developers. Firefox OS is instead, like OLPC's Sugar platform, just one more tiny fragment to worry about.

          But worse, because of the current focus on Firefox OS which seems to be soaking up so much of the attention of everyone in Mozilla, Mozilla is missing the boat on being what we really need. That is an organization doing open R&D on new standards, making new FOSS implementations on new ideas, pushing the semantic web envelope like towards a semantic desktop, and improving privacy by making it easier to run local HTML5/JavaScript/CSS3 apps with local data. Some place like a FOSS-only IBM Research motivated by ideals of global community instead of private profit. Granted we have some places like that such as the World Wide Web Foundation, but we could use more, especially one with extensive software development capabilities:
          http://webfoundation.org/about... [webfoundation.org]
          "The World Wide Web Foundation was established in 2009 by Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee to tackle the fundamental obstacles to realizing his vision of an open Web available, usable, and valuable for everyone. The Web is the most powerful tool for communication in the history of humanity, creating the potential for all people to participate in building a more peaceful and equitable world. However, only a small minority of people â" mainly urban, male, and affluent â" are part of the Webâ(TM)s global conversation. Despite the recent surge in mobile internet access, nearly two-thirds of the worldâ(TM)s people (mostly in the developing world) are still not connected at all. And once connected, what people are able to do on and with the Web is increasingly threatened by government controls, as well as by certain commercial practices. We seek to establish the open Web as a global public good and a basic right, ensuring that everyone can access and use it freely."

          Instead of Mozilla focusing on XPCOM and enhancing Firefox and Thunderbird and promoting Webmaker more, I have a feeling this bug report I recently filed regarding Firefox and IndexedDB is not going to be addressed in a timely fashion (as one example of what I'm talking about, given it is a bug that makes it hard to do local web apps with Firefox):
          "Bug 1005634 - IndexedDB same-origin policy implementation for local files with query string"
          https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/s... [mozilla.org]

          To be clear, I feel the Firefox OS idea built around open source and open standards is a great concept in theory. I loved the idea of Squeak Smalltalk booting straight from hardware too. My concern is seeing Firefox and Thunderbird suffer relative to what they have been becoming -- which is an amazing cross-platform environments for obtaining and managing information and communicating it with others built on standards and FOSS code. I'd rather see improvements happen in that space than see Mozilla just go next-to-nowhere in the full-stack mobile space. While it is true that mobile is a big thing (although the desktop remains important), Mozilla could have instead make more democratically-oriented privacy-enhancing local-control-expanding FOSS apps on the Mozilla XPCOM platform and in that way build something better on top of Android as well as on top of the desktop. At that point, the underlying OS aspects would not matter much because XPCOM could be ported to anywhere including whatever will show up in a few years ("smart dust" OS maybe?).

          It is easy to quibble from the sidelines about the direction Mozilla took with limited resources, and my criticism may be misguided perhaps, not seeing everything Mozilla leaders were seeing at the time. So, I'm certainly open to changing my mind on Firefox OS. Still, and incrementally better Mozilla XPCOM and some new democratic semantic apps could put Mozilla's privacy and Webmaker vision and code everywhere from all desktops to all smartphones to all smart TVs to all wearables and maybe most embedded systems including in cars by becoming the platform on *top* of everything already out there. But even the biggest realistically imaginable success of Firefox OS just puts Mozilla *underneath* the Google apps on a few hundred million inexpensive smartphones. Firefox OS in that sense could be a win for FOSS to some extent, to be sure, just not as big a win as XPCOM plus democratic Webmaker apps could be.

          But in any case, probably the biggest issue is that there is not enough research funding devoted by supposedly democratic governments to a democratic web and democratic desktop and democratic phone. The US government as a supposed world-leading democracy should IMHO be giving out many billions of dollars a year to fund democratic FOSS information technology.

          "suppo

          • Thanks for the reply to this and my other in this thread. Yes, "supposed" was intentional. :-) My point about Google's service offerings and Android was not to express a preference, just to point out why Google's Android had an edge in adoption. I'd rather use services that spy/track/advertise less, even if you still have to assume for prudence that all communications are logged and decryptable.

            And for my other comment and your reply, I read on Glassdoor a lot of people inside Mozilla are unhappy with the c

          • And similar specs. The waterproof Kyocera Hydro is US$29.64 right now with free Prime shipping on Amazon for the Kyocera (carrier locked though, but WiFi works fine; unfortunately not sunlight readable though) versus US$99.00 (and free shipping) for the ZTE Open C. The Hydro is three times cheaper than the Firefox OS device. The ZTE Open C has slightly better hardware specs though and is not locked to a carrier given the SIM card slots.
            http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-... [amazon.com]
            https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/... [mozilla.org]

            So I g

            • And similar specs. The waterproof Kyocera Hydro is US$29.64 right now with free Prime shipping on Amazon for the Kyocera (carrier locked though, but WiFi works fine; unfortunately not sunlight readable though) versus US$99.00 (and free shipping) for the ZTE Open C.

              If it's carrier locked, then US$29.64 is not the real price, but just the first payment.

              The Hydro is three times cheaper than the Firefox OS device. The ZTE Open C has slightly better hardware specs though and is not locked to a carrier given the SIM card slots.
              http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-... [amazon.com]
              https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/... [mozilla.org]

              So I guess I don't see where there are any cost of hardware advantages to this first offering with Firefox OS. Maybe there will be more to come?

              Indeed, you can't expect the first batch to compete in producution costs with those other phones who're way ahead in terms of logistics, markets, etc.

              It's true you can only run that Kyocera on Boost Mobile, but WiFi works fine even without a plan. I don't know if that phone is carrier subsidized to any degree. I bought three Hydros (one a bit better) for developer testing for writing networked Android apps. I've paid for a few days of phone service for one of them mostly as a test; I have no plans on activating the other two as phones. I doubt those are subsidized much if at all, but I have no proof of that other than the fact than anyone can buy them and just use them as WiFi only devices.

              I see multiple unlocked Android phones on Amazon for about US$100:
              http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sel... [amazon.com]

              Anyway, just thought more about your point on cost... Firefox OS is currently more expensive than low-end Android. So the (one billion Mozilla/Google US dollars later) question is, how fast will that change?

              Even if Firefox OS was better than Android (still to be seen other than for privacy), it would still face the same uphill adoption of, say, FireWire/Thunderbolt vs. USB1/2/3.

              Also for development/testing/networking purposes I bought a ~$120 Android OLPC XO tablet that comes pre-loaded with educational software:
              http://www.amazon.com/XO-7-inc... [amazon.com]

              In a few years, those prices will continue to fall. It's much more pleasant to browse the web on that Android tablet than on an Android phone. I'm not convinced a Firefox OS tablet is going to beat that price anytime soon -- even if it might have privacy benefits.

              Again, the very first device can't be expected to compete in price like that, given that their competition already has a strong market foothold. I expect (hope) that this will change as the scenario evolves.

              • http://mobile.slashdot.org/sto... [slashdot.org]

                That reference is to link this to a broader discussion. It's true the $30 Kyocera Hydro phone from Amazon is only for Boost Mobile -- but you don't need to activate it or sign a contract to buy it. If you use it as WiFi only, that is all you pay. One of the first apps we installed was a work in progress for disaster relief agencies and others called Serval Mesh which does direct phone-to-phone WiFi.
                http://www.servalproject.org/ [servalproject.org]
                "Simply put, Serval is a telecommunications sys

    • Why do we need an OS at all on a phone? Dumbphones work well with a simple firmware.
      I don't really want a phone with an OS. Most smartphones are barely usable because they're touchscreen based, and they need a PC and cable to flash them.
      Firefox OS gives the base stuff and a browser. Maybe that's fake simplicity since all the stuff is moved to an extremely complex browser. But the browser needed to be there anyway.

    • To avoid market fragmentation which behoves a company to write an iOS client in objective-C, an Android client in Java, a Blackbery client with Qt and a WP8 client in c#.

      Why not just target mobile web? Well because webapps traditionally lack the polish that native toolkits provide such as OS and hardware integration.

      So Mozilla are pushing 'native' standards through the wc3 for Firefox Mobile and b2g is the test bed OS.

    • by BZ (40346)

      Mozilla decided to create B2G for several reasons, but one of them is because most of the world's population in the near future will be accessing the internet from a phone or _maybe_ a tablet, not a full-on laptop or desktop. And people using phones or tablets don't install non-default web browsers, statistically speaking, not least because storage is pretty limited on phones, so if Mozilla wanted to be in the market at all it needed to be shipping the default browser on a phone people would use.

      There was

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        Well that pretty much explains where I part company with Mozilla's philosophy. Frankly, I'm not accessing the web from a mobile device in the 3rd world, I'm developing from a desktop machine in the 1st world. Someone should develop for the 3rd world but let it be Google, not Mozilla. They should've focussed on maintaining a quality PC web browser with a comprehensive interface.

  • by Theovon (109752) on Friday May 09, 2014 @08:37PM (#46963847)

    This is an honest question. How does the overhead of having all apps written in Javascript affect battery life? There are tools to compile Android apps to native indtead of Dalvik, and the perormance boost is substantial. I’d expect that the performance comparison between Javascript and native would be orders of magnitude. Now, I realize that most of time, phones are either idle or asleep, but all that extra CPU time for every interactive event has got to add up.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 09, 2014 @09:02PM (#46963935)

      The real performance bottlenecks have to do with RAM, and just-in-time compilations (though that is often cached). Even number-crunching apps can use asm.js to approach native performance, and even if the gap isn't fully closed there just aren't many apps that require that much performance for a simple smartphone. If you wanted the best possible performance you'd be wasting much time, because it's not JS that's causing most of the performance issues on something like FirefoxOS, but simply the RAM usage and the graphics stack being a bit slipshod in places (though both aspects are being actively improved a lot in FirefoxOS).

    • It makes little or no difference. The energy hog on a smartphone is the screen. Virtually everything else pales in comparison. The only time it becomes an issue is if some app is continuously running, which happens with Android occasionally, but then it's not going to matter if it's Javascript or raw handcrafted ARM assember.
      • While the difference between ASM, Java bytecode or JavaScript bytecode isn't very big in energy consumption, it will give a noticeable increase in "snappiness" in the UI if you get everything in asm. JIT runtimes are amazing at what they can do with the efficiency of the bytecode, but compiling it takes time so users will experience UI lag every time a compile kicks in. The compile itself will take extra energy so yes, there is some impact on battery life as well.

        Regardless, users will think an app is "sl

        • That's interesting. It would be partially solved by boosting the processor to full speed when JIT compiling code, then instantly going back to lower power operation for the rest of the experience.
          You solve the problem with brute force.. That's what Firefox OS is essentially doing, it takes advantage of even low end hardware having 1.x GHz ARM. In several years low end stuff will have updated CPUs on 20nm process. There can be good incremental progress. But code bloat will eat it up?

    • Look up asm.js?

      If you have firefox installed check this out as Unreal 4 engine was ported to Firefox JS [neowin.net].

      The link even has a demo you can run? The fact is Google does not want to port this as they want us to use proprietary dart and other technologies optimized for Android. But with Firefox OS you can do a lot with javascript iwth JIT and hardware acceleration.

  • I'm reluctant to try the FireFox OS for one main reason --- FireFox developers have demonstrated a bad habit of arbitrarily changing important parts of the software they publish (e.g. the FireFox 29 user interface fiasco, making the UI much less customizable, in spite of the developers asserting that it is more customizable).

    .
    The last thing I would want would be a dependence upon an operating system from those change-happy short-sighted developers.

    • I like the new UI (importantly, it still has the classic menu bar) and the extension to get a fully customisable UI back was available monthes before the official release of FF29.

  • by koolfy (1213316) <koolfyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday May 10, 2014 @10:05AM (#46966271) Homepage Journal
    Wake me up when they finally implement Landscape Keyboard mode outside their mobile Firefox browser.

    I mean come on, from 1.0 to 1.3 (and still in 1.4 and 1.5 alphas as we speak) you still need to type EVERYTHING on a tiny portrait keyboard. That means calendar, emails, text mesaging, instant mesaging... everything but what you do on the web browser.

    I can't even begin to describe how frustating it is to have the capability of rotating the keyboard in the web brower but not on the rest of the system.
    This make absolutely no sense when you think their target market is lower-end phones with "reasonable" screen sizes. Meaning you abso-fucking-lutely need to use everything you can get when you want to type something without making 3 typos a word.

    Having that said, I still believe firmly in this project, and in the need of a less-bloated-smartphone-OS than Android, not developped by a company with a history of privacy violations (While still tied to the advertising world, I don't recall Mozilla being anywhere on the PRISM slides), and built on open standards.

    My main concerns, however, remain:
    - Reaching critical mass
    - Getting a decent crypto API (full disk encryption etc.)
    - GETTING THEIR KEYBOARD TO ROTATE


    Wait and see.
    • by koolfy (1213316)
      Oh wait, I could force the landscape orientation in the messaging app by modifying the manifest.

      Looks like the "default" setting does not point to what I had in mind.

      Meh, the default behavior after flashing the OS is still broken, my point stands.

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