First look at Firefox OS

Firefox OS logo

Firefox OS is the free and open source mobile operating system from Mozilla. The OS is relatively new on the smartphone scene. I have had the ZTE Open running this OS with me for a few days now and have had the opportunity to size up Firefox OS. How does it fare against the competition in terms of capabilities?

Surprisingly, it looks like the folks at Mozilla did their homework for the most part. Here are key features that the average smartphone user already uses on other platforms and are already available in Firefox OS:

  • 3G/HSPA support
  • USB mass storage
  • Removable memory card support
  • Multitasking and task management
  • Bluetooth File transfer
  • Stereo FM
  • GPS Support
  • Internet Sharing / WiFi Hotspot
  • USB tethering
  • Social integration in menu
  • Online Moarketplace
  • App update notification
  • Pull-down menu

Firefox Apps menu:
Firefox OS apps desktop

Niggles

Firefox OS device storage
The only niggle with the OS that I ran into is a limitation with internal storage. Photos, videos and music are stored on SD card. If you don’t have an SD card in the phone, you cannot download or receive files (e.g. via Bluetooth). Besides this, as far as I can see, Firefos OS ticks almost all the boxes in terms of features to expect from a modern day smartphone OS. One hopes that the restrictions on internal memory will be removed as soon as possible.

User Interface

Firefox OS main desktop
The Firefox OS user interface is largely reminiscent of Android’s. You swipe horizontally through three pages on the desktop. The main page is the middle one, so you swipe swipe to the left to access installed apps, and swipe to the right to access Marketplace apps. Yes; it has a platform store called Marketplace. Users can download and install apps from there. The OS also has automatic notifications for available app updates.

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Here is what the pulldown menu looks like:
Firefox OS pull-down menu

Firefox OS Marketplace:
Firefox OS

The UI also features a pull-down menu that provides quick toggles/shortcuts to WiFi, network data, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, and Settings. I also dis[plays your data usage, and serves as a notification area for updates and all. There is a sense in which the UI feels like what Symbian could have been if development had not been stopped. Firefox OS certainly feels pretty matured for a new OS in the field.

App Updates:
Firefox OS app updates

ZTE Open Review

My review f the ZTE Open is already in draft. I hope to complete it soon, so hang around.

Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

0 thoughts on “First look at Firefox OS

  • Oct 20, 2013 at 3:05 pm
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    Not to jump the gun, but if all Firefox has are “mee tooo” features, it has a tough battle on its hands.

    There have to be clear features that put it heads above the big guns, otherwise, we could have a DOA situation.

    Time would tell , though..

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