[Mozilla Firefox cosplay]1A couple of days ago my phone ‘on’ button (which also activates the screen) stopped working (most of the time…along with the heating in my flat). So that was all fun…anyway, this gave me a good kick to finally move my primary phone to the free (as in beer) [Firefox OS Flame]2 phone, based on the free (as in speech) Firefox software. Happily, I was probably one of the few people at [Mozfest]3 for whom the free test Flame phone was a step up, it’s got a pretty decent spec but it’s not going to set anyone’s world on fire… In short – it’s brilliant.  I set it up pretty quickly then faffed about, I was looking at it thinking “hm, what else am I missing” and a big part of the answer was “all the crap you couldn’t get rid of on the old android”.  I like the principle of the phone too – basing apps on open web technologies, and I hope people develop more for Firefox OS (,etc.) e.g. WalkJogRun happened to be the site I used for mapping runs, it developed an iPhone app but no android app…but hey, right away on Firefox OS I found a GPS based run tracker, which of course will work on any other phone too because it’s ‘just’ a html5 app. The appearance of the phone is great too, it’s clean and fast, with fairly familiar navigation through app-icons, and some nice “smart collections” which list apps in a particular category (these seem to be good apps so I don’t know who curates them).  There’s also a nice function in the ‘contacts’ where you can send someone something via whatever method (facebook, twitter, phone, etc.) you have contacts for them on, including for facebook posting a wall post, viewing their profile or sending a message.  I know I could do this on android, but I don’t think it was as well integrated/attractive. Having said all that, from 2 days use I’ve got a wishlist, some of which is pickiness (some of which is definitely not).  Not sure if some of these should go onto [Bugzilla]4 (or somewhere else?) or not… Anyway, my wishlist (in no particular order): Firefox OS and built-in app wishlist 1. A better gallery – 1. it lumps all photos found into one gallery, so you don’t get any folder interaction or other ways to organise the images ([feedback]5) 2. the only way to navigate them is to scroll through all the dates 3. (there is a carousel function, but it requires you to thumb almost off the phone, actually I think this is this [bug]6) 4. you can only select one photo at a time (no multi-deleting, sharing, etc.). I was wrong, there’s a little ‘square selector’ button you have to click to select multiple photos at a time 5. And the images seem to cache at a really low resolution ([bug]7), so when you open the gallery up everything (including good quality photos) is incredibly low-resolution, 6. while tiny images (e.g. ones used in apps) default to ‘stretch’ ([bug]8) into the preview window :-(. 7. And I can’t see an app to do this better (I.e. you can’t just not use the default app) 2. A better email client – I’ve grown reliant on gmail’s “mute” function, and hadn’t quite realised how terrible the m.gmail.com site is, but there’s no gmail app for Firefox OS. The native email client is alright, but I’ve got very used to having more, for example, you can’t: 1. Mute threads 2. Search non-cached emails (ARGH!) 3. Change your name once the account’s setup, so I’ve accidentally set my name as an email on one account, and as ‘gmail’ on my gmail account. ([bug]9) 4. It’s also not obvious how you’d refresh IMAP folders (I added one on gmail but it didn’t appear a few hours later on the phone, maybe it would have eventually…) 5. Select multiple emails at once (e.g., to delete or move them), 6. Mark emails unread(!)    Turns out I was wrong about both of these, there’s a small button bottom right to bring up email-tick-box selector to: delete; flag; mark read/unread; change folders on, multiple mails. 3. There’s no copy-paste functionality (or, no UX for it [bug here]10, [app to partially solve is available]11). There’s a nice long hold for cut n paste functionality – a nice function on Android which lets you copy text between apps. Having no copy/paste even through menus is a really striking omission. 4. A screen lock tool – I like my finger swipe thing on Android, I can set a keycode for this but that’s all at the moment 5. Multiple browser support – for various reasons I tend to do different things in different browsers. I can’t see any way to install more than one browser (maybe other compatible open browsers will emerge?), nor does ‘in-private’/’in-cognito’ mode seem to be available in the installed Firefox browser ([but on the way]12 and [bug-report progress]13??). 6. A profile selector – at the moment I can’t see any easy way to select ringtone/volume/etc profile-sets so this needs to be done manually. At the very least a “silent, vibrate, noisy” option would be nice. 7. Keyboard selector (I got [emoticons by downloading an extra keyboard]14 (and there’s another [here]15), but I’d still like to modify the keyboard further, and ideally have [swype]16 options) 8. I’ve had to update at least one app with it losing all my login data in the process – ideally this should not happen! 9. This is just a flat-out bug, but accessing one of the app groups (‘Social’) seems not to be loading…not sure I care (I don’t even remember what was “inside” it). (These can easily be ‘reinstalled’) 10. Another flat out bug, adding a google calendar gets me to the authentication page, but then doesn’t do anything after you ‘authorise’.  (Nor could I get CalDav working) (I just got this working…there seemed to be a HUGE delay between clicking ‘accept’ and the page reloading, not sure if using googlemail (not gmail) helped, I saw that suggested somewhere)
11. A better [marketplace]17 – this is true of Android too, but I get a bit fed up of games leaking into ALL the categories.  Also, the 2nd app in the fitness category when I looked earlier was a vibrator app…hilarious, sure, useful top hit, not so much. App based 1. Clearer instructions for the [GAuth tool]18 (although it’s fantastic that you can get gauth working!) 2. Better WhatsApp support (although I did eventually get [A2Connect]19 working, and setup [Loqui]20 for facebook chat and google hangouts, I tried a couple of other tools with no luck). 3. It’d be great to have Skype (suspect this will never happen 🙂 ). 4. A backup tool – ideally backing up the whole system (apps n all) but at least the data on it. Everything else 1. Easier transfer of sms, etc. I ended up backing all my old SMSs to email using an Android app because I couldn’t work out how to transfer from Android to Firefox OS (A-A is ok, although I think this has actually got a bit harder in recent years). 2. The phone (hardware) is a bit too sensitive – I keep finding myself accidentally long clicking and moving icons around, and every time I pick the thing up to unlock it I take a screenshot…I mean, literally dozens of screenshots since yesterday. 3. Externals, it’s great the phone works with the standard charger (although I was having issues with that, suspect it’s my problem though) and obviously most stuff is just entirely transferable, but I’d have gone for a Firefox case if one was available, instead I’ve bought a silicon thing from German-ebay – fine, but a branding opp missed 🙂  


  1. /static/2014/05/mozilla_firefox_cosplay.jpg

  2. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox_OS/Developer_phone_guide/Flame

  3. http://sjgknight.com/finding-knowledge/2014/11/month-note-field-work-conferences-other-events/ “Month note: Field work, conferences + other events”

  4. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/

  5. https://input.mozilla.org/en-US/dashboard/response/4842714

  6. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=972275

  7. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1122880

  8. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=947029

  9. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1122884

  10. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=747798

  11. http://www.codingfree.com/2014/01/copy-paste-for-firefox-os.html

  12. http://asadotzler.com/2014/10/17/private-browsing-coming-soon-to-firefox-os/

  13. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=832700

  14. https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/emoji-keyboard?src=search

  15. https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/smiley-keyboard

  16. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nuance.swype.trial&hl=en

  17. http://marketplace.firefox.com/

  18. https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/gauth-authenticator/

  19. https://marketplace.firefox.com/app/connecta2

  20. https://loqui.im/