Finally, Firefox smartphone now arrives in India. Though Mozilla’s Firefox OS as a smartphone operating system has had a negligible impact on the market, but all that could change very soon as the first Firefox smartphone has been announced for India. The Spice Fire One has predictable low-end specifications and a greatly attractive price tag of Rs 2,299.
This may sound like analyzing yesterday's news, but I think it's important, and more than that I need to put this here as a resource to point certain people to.
The Mozilla Foundation's aim to create a Firefox OS for mobile devices was not to take a quixotic tilt at the top end of the smartphone market. Instead, it hoped to provide an alternative that would enable the delivery of low-cost, but still smart, devices to places where smartphones are still a significant purchase.
That plan looks to be working in India, where local outfit Spicephone has just announced it will offer the nation's first Firefox-OS-powered phone for Rs 2,299 (US$38, £23).
Mozilla is in the process of adding the ability to “cast” videos from Firefox to Chromecast devices, and you can try it now if you have the right hardware.
As announced in a post on Google+ post by Mozilla developer Lucas Rocha, “Chromecast support is now enabled in Firefox for Android’s Nightly build.”
To check this out, I downloaded the latest Firefox Nightly, installed it on my Nexus 10, and tested it with my Chromecast. It worked… although, it has some rough edges right now.
Google has made quite a splash with its Chromecast dongle, which performs many of the tasks that set-top boxes do, but Chromecast may be headed for some competition. Android Police has reported that Firefox for Android has gained support in nightly builds for Chromecast, and GigaOM reports that Mozilla is continuing to work on a Chromecast competitor possibly called Matchstick.
If you are attending UbuConLA I would strongly encourage you to check out the talks on Firefox OS and Webmaker. In addition to the talks, there will also be a Firefox OS workshop where attendees can go more hands on.
When the organizers of UbuConLA reached out to me several months ago, I knew we really had to have a Mozilla presence at this event so that Ubuntu Users who are already using Firefox as their browser of choice could learn about other initiatives like Firefox OS and Webmaker.
Mozilla has always done interesting conceptual work with the Firefox browser and its other projects, and only some of the concepts actually make it into production. In the spirit of experimenting, a couple of Mozilla developers are playing with concepts for what the future of browsing might be like.
Michael Verdi and Philipp Sackl have posted a presentation and other materials for Lightspeed, and it looks to be a very interesting concept.
Just about two weeks ago, I got a Flame and have decided to use it as my primary phone and put away my Nexus 5. I’m running Firefox OS Nightly on it and so far have not run into any bugs so critical that I have needed to go back to Android.
I have however found some bugs and have some thoughts on things that need improvement to make the Firefox OS experience even better.
Collabora remains interested in seeing Mozilla's Firefox web-browser with Gecko layout engine on Wayland.
As reported on Phoronix a few times, the GTK3 port of Firefox is still being worked on along with the Wayland port. The GTK3 version of Firefox hasn't yet hit the mainline code-base, but progress is being made and for allowing Firefox/Gecko to avoid its hard dependencies on X11 interfaces.
While there's still some work to go, Frederic Plourde of Collabora has reminded us it's still being worked on and their experimental code continues to allow Firefox to run natively on Wayland's Weston compositor.