MozFest Flame Phones

Dancing Flames
Image via Flickr user Capture Queen, and used under a CC license

Even though I wasn’t there, it sure was thrilling to see all the activity around the Flame phones at MozFest.

So, you’ve got a Flame and you’re wondering how you can use this new hardware to help Mozilla make Firefox OS awesome?! Well, here’s what we’d love from you.

First, check your Flame to see what build of Firefox OS it’s running. If you have not flashed it, it’s probably on Firefox OS 1.3 and you’ll need to upgrade it to something contemporary first. If you’re using anything older than the v188 base image, you definitely need to upgrade. To upgrade, visit the Flame page on MDN and follow the instructions to flash a new vendor-provided base image and then flash the latest nightly from Mozilla on top of that.

Once you’re on the latest nightly of Firefox OS, you’re ready to start using the Flame and filing bugs on things that don’t work. You’d think that with about five thousand Flames out there, we’d have reports on everything that’s not working but that’s not the case. Even if the bug seems highly visible, please report it. We’d rather have a couple of duplicate reports than no report at all. If you’re experienced with Bugzilla, please search first *and* help us triage incoming reports so the devs can focus on fixing rather than duping bugs.

In addition to this use-based ad hoc testing, you can participate in the One and Done program or work directly with the Firefox OS QA team on more structured testing.

But that’s not all! Because Firefox OS is built on Web technologies, you don’t have to be a hardcore programmer to fix many of the bugs in the OS or the default system apps like Dialer, Email, and Camera. If you’ve got Web dev skills, please help us squash bugs. A great place to start is the list of bugs with developers assigned to mentor you through the process.

It’s a non-trivial investment that the Mozilla Foundation has made in giving away these Flame reference phones and I’m here to work with you all to help make that effort pay off in terms of bugs reported and fixed. Please let me know if you run into problems or could use my help. Enjoy your Flames!

Private Browsing Coming Soon to Firefox OS

This week, the team landed code changes for Bug 832700 – Add private browsing to Firefox OS. This was the back end implementation in Gecko and we still have to determine how this will surface in the front end. That work is tracked at Bug 1081731 Add private browsing to Firefox OS in Gaia.

We also got a couple of nice fixes to one of my favorite new features, the still experimental “app grouping” feature for the Firefox OS home screen. The fixes for Bug 1082627 and Bug 1082629 ensure that the groups align properly and have the right sizes. You can enable this experimental feature in settings -> developer -> homescreen -> app grouping.

There’s lots going on every day in Firefox OS development. I’ll be keeping y’all up to date here and on Twitter.



Firefox OS 2.0 Pre-release for Flame

About 4,000 of y’all have a Flame Firefox OS reference phone. This is the developer phone for Firefox OS. If you’re writing apps or contributing directly to the open source Firefox OS project, Flame is the device you should have.

The Flame shipped with Firefox OS 1.3 and we’re getting close to the first major update for the device, Firefox OS 2.0. This will be a significant update with lots of new features and APIs for app developers and for Firefox OS developers. I don’t have a date to share with y’all yet, but it should be days and not weeks.

If you’re like me, you cannot wait to see the new stuff. With the Flame reference phone, you don’t have to wait. You can head over to MDN today and get a 2.0 pre-release base image, give that a whirl, and report any problems to Bugzilla. You can even flash the latest 2.1 and 2.2 nightly builds to see even further into the future.

If you don’t have a Flame yet, and you’re planning on contributing testing or coding to Firefox OS or to write apps for Firefox OS, I encourage you to get one soon. We’re going to be wrapping up sales in about 6 weeks.

I’m Back!

PROTIP: Don’t erase the Android phone with your blog’s two-factor authentication setup to see if you can get Firefox OS running on it unless you are *sure* you have printed out your two-factor back-up codes. Sort of thinking you probably printed them out is not the same thing as being sure :-)

Thank you to fellow Tennessean, long-time Mozillian, and WordPress employee Daryl Houston for helping me get my blog back.

Foxtrot is Here

Image via Flickr user Helena Perez García, and used under a CC license
Foxtrot image via Flickr user Helena Perez García, and used under a CC license
We’re excited to launch the first, small-scale, FLAME reference phone program, “Foxtrot” for Mozillians.

We have about 200 devices available for members of our community (volunteers and employees) who are not part of the core OS dev teams, who will use the phones regularly, and who will participate in product surveys, focused testing efforts, and be available to help us gauge the quality of specific features and the overall product.

To apply to the program, head over to our Foxtrot Application:

The application takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

200 phones means that not everyone can participate in this program but not to worry, there will be other opportunities for receiving free Flames.

Flame – Firefox OS Reference Phone

Attending the Mozilla Summit 2013 and talking with our community about the exciting future of Firefox OS, the one concern I heard voiced most often was the difficulty of participating in Firefox OS. It was simply out of reach to most people I talked to.

No doubt, Firefox OS is an open source project. The code’s been there since before day 1. But access to source code does not a successful open source project make. Firefox OS felt to many I’ve spoken with to be far less participatory than Firefox the browser. The primary reasons for this, IMO, are the lack of widely available Firefox OS hardware and regular Firefox OS testing binaries.

With Firefox the browser, anyone anywhere in the world can download and get updates for a Mozilla-hosted binary of Firefox on a daily basis. They can download the active development “Nightly” build to see the changes that landed in the browser since yesterday. They can also download and get updates for the more stable “Aurora” and “Beta” channels. And because Firefox runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux, most people had no problem trying it out on their existing computers.

Firefox the browser is easy to try out. Firefox OS is not.

With Firefox OS, only Mozilla employees or employees of Mozilla partners can download development builds and get updates. This is because there are a few pieces down in the phone’s software stack that are not Mozilla’s code and for which Mozilla doesn’t have license to distribute. And, even if our community could download development builds of Firefox OS, the hardware to put that on has been very limited. If you’re not in a region with a Mozilla partner shipping Firefox OS phones, your options were very limited.

Mozilla tried to hack around the problems a couple of times over the last year, with limited success.

Flame is Mozilla’s investment in solving those problems for real.

Mozilla partnered with a company called Thundersoft to design, build, and update a phone that contains all of the hardware we’re targeting in the next year or so. Thundersoft has already made and delivered 2,000 Flame phones to Mozilla and we are rolling those out now to the core Firefox OS teams and community. We’ve got the retail site up which is selling an additional 5,000 Flame phones, and we’re hard at work on making nightly builds available to these devices.

The Flame phone won’t fix everything, but it should go a long way towards empowering our community to participate in Firefox OS and to generate the kinds of community impact on scale that we’ve seen in our Firefox browser community for years.

Tablets Still Shipping

We’ve had some bumps in the road in distributing the tablets to the Tablet Contribution Program participants. Because of the overlap in timing with our Flame reference phone program and the distribution of those devices, we are over capacity for what our one heroic shipping person can manage. We’re about 25% of the way though shipping the tablets and will strive to get the remainder out in the coming week or two.

If you received a confirmation that you were going to receive a tablet, you will be receiving a tablet. When your tablet ships, you will get an email with a shipping tracking number. Sorry for the delay. In the mean time, you can start your adventure at the Tablet Contribution Program wiki.

Tablets Start Shipping This Week

The Tablet Contribution Program is getting under way with the distribution of 500 tablets to our community starting this week. We’re not a giant operation here, so it’s going to take us a bit of time to package, address, and ship 500 devices to dozens of countries. Your patience is appreciated.

When your tablet ships, you will receive an email with tracking information. If you have not received that email, it means your tablet has not shipped yet.

Tablet Contribution Program Application Results

Today we informed all of the folks that applied for free tablet hardware through the Tablet Contribution Program of the results. As expected, demand far outpaced available devices so applicants will receive an email letting them know if they’ve been selected or not and next steps.

We will have additional hardware programs coming, including a 7″ tablet and the Firefox OS Flame reference phone so if you didn’t get a tablet in this round, don’t worry. There’s more to come.

If you applied and you didn’t see an email in your inbox today, please check your junk/spam folder. The email was from the address and the subject will have the “Firefox OS Tablet” in it.

This is really quite exciting — the first tablet device for Firefox OS and the beginning of a community project to make progress ahead of the Mozilla Corporation’s core team. If you want to learn more about the program, visit the TCP wiki page.

And last but not least, I want to say a big thank you to some amazing Mozillians who stepped up to make this program go. Thank you Colin Frei, Alfredos (fredy) Damkalis, Andrew Truong (feer56), Andre Garzia, Sebastian Hengst, Gabriel Gómez, Viking KARWUR, Anuj Agarwal, Benlamara Abderahemane, Benny Chandra, Mehmood Ali, Luigi Tedone, Steve Lee, Shahmir Khan, Jennie Rose Halperin, and Rami Khader. This program is moving because you all are moving it. Thank you.

Tablet Contribution Program Applications are Open

(Re-posted from the Mozilla Hacks Blog)

Last month, Mozilla announced the Tablet Contribution Program to help deliver Firefox OS to the tablet form factor. Today, we are excited to open the Application for Hardware Support to Mozillians all over the world who will sign up to contribute to Firefox OS coding, testing, localizing, and product planning.

The first device for this program is the 10″ InFocus tablet from Foxconn, with a 1.0GHz Quad-Core Cortex-A7 processor.

Foxconn's InFocus F1 New Tab running Firefox OS Brand/Model: Foxconn InFocus
Processor: A31 (ARM Cortex A7) Quad-Core 1.0GHz w/ PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
Storage: 16GB
Screen: 10.1" IPS capacitive multi-touch @ 1280x800
Camera: Dual cameras, 2MP/5MP
Wireless: 802.11b/g/n
Ports: Micro SD, Micro USB, headphone
Other: GPS, Bluetooth, Gyroscope
Battery: 7000mAh

Today, we’re also excited to announce an upcoming addition to the program, a 7″ Vixen tablet from VIA, with a 1.2Ghz Dual core Cortex-A9 processor.

VIA Vixen running Firefox OS Brand/Model: VIA Vixen
Processor: WM8880 (ARM Cortex A9) Dual-Core 1.2Ghz w/ Dual-Core Mali 400 GPU
Storage: 8GB
Screen: 7" capacitive multi-touch @ 1024x600
Camera: Dual cameras, 0.3MP/2.0MP
Wireless: 802.11b/g/n
Ports: Micro SD, Micro USB, Mini HDMI, headphone
Other: Bluetooth, Accelerometer
Battery: 4000mAh

We have limited quantities of these developer devices so we’re looking for dedicated contributors who can commit to regular testing and reporting of defects, identifying and documenting feature gaps with competitor tablets, triaging incoming bug reports, localizing and translating UI, prioritizing work and building roadmaps, hacking on existing features and bugs, defining new features and experiences, and more.

If that sounds exciting to you, and you’ve got time and skills to work with Mozilla to make a real difference in the tablet space, apply now for free developer tablet hardware from Mozilla.