“Apples” in the car: Re-introducing Apple CarPlay

carplaylogo

Earlier this March, Apple finally announced and confirmed CarPlay, which is the long-awaited ‘iOS in the car’ project you possibly heard about. Because the lifespan of a car is so long compared to the life cycle of digital technologies like phones and the software they run, the challenge is to create a smart in-car infotainment system that can stay up to date even as your car ages. And so, the battleground is set for the mobile tech world just maybe this time with an “auto” attached to it.

Carplay1

With the fact that most of the big names in the auto industry already have their own systems, it would be a worthy question to ask about what Apple brings to the deck that makes things different. Obviously the technology is not new; and we’ve already seen several cars natively running Android and offering some level of integration with Android smartphones. “CarPlay has been designed from the ground up to provide drivers with an incredible experience using their iPhone in the car,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPhone and iOS Product Marketing. We will take a moment to explore CarPlay thus, giving you what to expect from it.

First, and maybe most importantly, do NOT let the pictures fool you. CarPlay is not an in-car system that runs iOS or iOS apps. It’s a system that integrates your iPhone apps with your car’s digital systems, allowing you to control them and your device an an easier, tech-savvy manner. The idea is that you plug your iPhone into your car via USB, and viola! You can now use the functionality of your iPhone without having to fumble around with it and take your eyes off the road. Take a moment to imagine how safer and more convenient that could be.

Apple_CarPlay_Music

CarPlay aims to empower you to use all your iPhone’s functionality without actually touching it. So that includes playing your music, navigating to the shops, taking phone calls, reading text messages and even watching YouTube videos which you would be able to do from the start. In theory, there are no limits to the interplay. Perhaps you’ll even be able to turn your wipers on and off simply by talking to Siri or unlock your vehicle using your iPhone – but that’s a way off even if it’s possible. And For those who love to play around by “having a conversation with Siri” well, your dreams are as here as technology would possibly have it.

The CarPlay interface takes over the car’s LCD when the phone is plugged in, with all processing running on the device. Much like the iOS interface, CarPlay shows app icons, although in a bigger format. Once upon a time, cars had increasingly featured USB ports that let you plug in an iPod, iPhone, or iPad with its white cable, and control music playback using the car’s own touch screen LCD or dashboard controls. With this integration, you can browse music by artist, album, genre, and track, select something, and play it.

You get to control CarPlay using one of three methods:

  • Siri voice control: just press and hold the voice control button on the steering wheel.
  • Touchscreen: If your CarPlay-equipped vehicle has a touchscreen, you can use it to control CarPlay.
  • CarPlay also works with the knobs, dials, or buttons in the car. If it controls your screen, it controls CarPlay.

Apple’s plans to have third parties building CarPlay compatibility into their apps, making them usable through the system. Apps like Spotify, Podcast, Stitcher and Beats Radio are already confirmed and with access to all their online library features, that long and easy driving entertainment is guaranteed.

Apple-CarPlay-2

No! No!! NO!!! Siri on CarPlay can NOT drive you home. Why? Because it cant! All it can do is give you turn by turn directions with audio cues using the Map app from Apple. You would also like to note that ONLY the iPhones with the lightning connector (iPhone 5, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s) are compatible with CarPlay so, those with the former 30-pin connector would finally have to consider that upgrade. Also no plans have yet been officially announced for an after-market version of CarPlay; which means that unless you buy a car which has CarPlay compatibility installed (of which there are none in existence at this time), you cannot have it. Cars with CarPlay functionality will be hitting the streets later this year, with models from Ferrari, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar, Mercedes, Volvo and many other big names in the car industry who are also committed to support the CarPlay platform.

So, with that much said, what do you think about it?

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iOS 7 jailbreak available… but beware!

iOS-7-logoYuletide greetings have come early for iOS jailbreak lovers round the world with the release of a now confirmed untethered jailbreak for Apple’s new mobile operating system iOS 7. For those who are quite uncertain about what the term “jailbreaking” is all about, jailbreaking can be referred to as “hacking” an Apple device such as an iPhone and iPad, so that users can download apps, extensions and themes that are not available through the official Apple App Store. On one side, this allows the user to have more control on the device in question while pushing it to its limits with new theme interfaces and extensions that enable interesting features such as Bluetooth file sharing, WiFi tethering and even game console emulation. But another side of jailbreaking is the ability for mobile application  “piracy” where users could download and install free “cracked apps” on their mobile devices.

Technically speaking, jailbreaking an iPhone or iPad is NOT illegal. But Apple has warned that the practice “can violate the warranty”. It is worthy to also note that jailbreaking your device eliminates security layers designed to protect your personal information and your iOS device which could lead to hackers stealing your personal information, damage your device, attack your network, or introduce malware, spyware or viruses. Finally you should know that unauthorized modification of iOS is a violation of the iOS end-user software license agreement which gives Apple the full right to deny service for an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch that has installed any unauthorized software. But all these don’t scare a LOT of people… one bit.

The evasi0n7 jailbreak, developed by a group known as Evad3rs, claims to work on an iPhone, iPad or iPod running iOS 7.0 through to 7.0.4. It takes 5 minutes of your dear time to install via a USB cable connecting the user’s device to a computer running Windows, Mac OS X or Linux. As the usual risk of data loss and several other complications, the need to backup your data cannot be overemphasized. As with the early versions of these hack tools, it has been confirmed that several hacks and extensions available on the Cydia store would not work properly. Thus, the probability of instability of the device’s operating system has a greater probability at this stage. Always backup your phone before installing new tweaks from Cydia as your iPhone could be stuck in the boot process,” warned evad3rs. “The situation will improve as developers will update their software.”

However, a number of tweaks do work, and thanks to iJailbreak, iPhonehacks.com and RedmondPie, here is a short list of confirmed working and not working tweaks. Please go through them carefully to decide if jailbreaking is okay for you at the moment.

Working:

  • WelcomeMe
  • OverAchiever
  • Plugication
  • Software Update Killer
  • ShakeToUndo Killer
  • NoStoreButton
  • NoPasscodeBlock
  • FakeClockUp
  • Privacy
  • Signal 2
  • Signal Booster (works after crashing on first open)
  • Appinfo
  • Fakeclockup
  • Activator (beta version) – You need to add Ryan Petrich’s repo rpetri.ch/repo to install the beta version.
  • iCleaner
  • iCleaner Pro
  • Swipe Selection
  • Accelerate (doesn’t work on iPhone 5s)
  • Mobile Terminal
  • snes4iphone
  • WiFi Passwords
  • FireWall iP
  • Music Box
  • MyFile
  • SwipeToRespring
  • Sicarius
  • HarlemShake7
  • AirDrop Enabler 7.0+
  • iPhone4Parallax
  • Gridlock
  • KillBackground7
  • Flipswitch
  • NoNewsIsGoodNews
  • Poof (doesn’t work on iPhone 5s)
  • Speed Intensifier
  • Respring (doesn’t work on iPhone 5s)
  • Tetherme (iPhone 5 user has confirmed it works on iOS 7.0.4)
  • FolderCloser
  • Icon Renamer
  • Music Box
  • Movie Box
  • Smart 3G + LTE
  • FiveIconDock ios7
  • HiddenSettings7
  • Open

Somewhat Working:

  • Abstergo (Installs, no effect)
  • Activator (beta): some things don’t work it also has a rather annoying message every time you unlock the device.
  • BytaFont7: you have to move the .app folder to the correct location, and it never resprings to install the font. I have had some people get it to kind of work.
  • Iconoclasm7: only one icon set works.
  • Infiniboard (Installs. No effect)
  • LocalIPStore (Sign into appstore keeps popping up, but some items unlock)
  • SBSettings (Missing some components, but working, must manually install)
  • Winterboard: It installs but won’t install themes.
  • iFile (registration fails even when connected to Cydia)

Not Working:

  • App Sync for iOS 7
  • Barrel: The tweak puts the Device into safe mode when you swipe the page.
  • DreamBoard
  • No Badges
  • Power Disconnect Chime (got errors trying to install)
  • SimpleBanners
  • SmallBanners
  • Springtomize 2: has no affect on device.
  • WiFi Booster (got errors trying to install)
  • Zeppelin: You can manually install this tweak but has no affect on status bar.

So, when it comes to this matter of jailbreaking iOS 7, we are reminded that “good things come for those who wait.” Cydia is known as the jailbreaking community’s preferred app Store and until several of the commonly used tweaks are working perfectly, you might as well relax and enjoy the holiday; not just for what it is, but for the hope of more dependable updates.

But of course, if you do intend to get along with it, alongside the risks, you can get Evasion 7 here for Windows and here for Mac OSX.

How to Install BBM on Gingerbread – Android

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The recent release of RIM’s flagship messenger app, BBM (Blackberry messenger) on Android and Iphone was a stunning move that yet, was expected but still shocked everyone (even though we all saw it coming).  As joyous as the release of the port of the app was for Android users, it was a big let-down for many whatsapp users as the app could not install on Android versions less than 4.0 ICS. This meant Gingerbread (android 2.3.x/cm7), the most popular and widely used version of android, was left out.

Many users have had to leave with defective custom ICS/JB roms in order to enjoy the very addictive and engaging chatting platform while waiting for words from RIM if there would be gingerbread compatible version roll-out soon.

RIM’s disinclination to give us hope or absolutely dash our hopes for a future release, has gingered a XDA user, rjt3 , to modify the BBM apk for gingerbread compatibility. Although only compatible with arm v7 phones for now nevertheless it’s a form of hope renewal for gingerbread loyalist that a widespread support for their beloved api version isn’t far off.

screensjot

How to Install BBM on Gingerbread

  1. Download the modified and repackaged apk from here, here or here.
  2. Install
    install screen

    after install screenshot
  3. If it’s working and you are not getting FCs (force close) skip the remaining steps
  4. Extract the apk using either your PC, or an android zip extractor as shown in the image belowextracted contents
  5. Locate the lib/armeabi-v7a folder in the extracted content and copy all the libs depected in the image below
    header
    *** you are advised to do a backup of your rom by using any preferred means before moving from step 5 to 6, CWM most preferably tho*****
  6.  Do step 5, copy the libs and mount your root folder as r/w (of course this requires root privilege)
  7. Paste the libs in root/system/libs (be careful of replacing already existing files).
  8. Try running again (if it works, skip step 9)
  9. You may have to wait for next version by following here

NB: The Procedure from step 4, requires root privilleges and root, system folder modification, (albeit unlikely)any error or damage you may cause to your mobile’s OS, is not our fault and we at nijaspecs will and cannot be held responsible for such 😀

I tried on a non ARM 7 mobile phone, and still got FCs tho, a peak at the logcat left me wondering, how it works for the arm 7 people in the first place
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As shown in the log there, the getactionbar method is not found, which is clearly obvious without actionbarcompat from the support library this would clearly cause an error on O.Ss before “honeycomb”, how rtj3 did it w/o th source still beats me tho, follow the development here

Modern Trend, Electronic Business Cards (How to Generate QR business card From Your Phone-Book)

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Trending now is the adoption of QR business cards on physical business cards, this is known to add a futuristic touch to your personal business cards, The use of QR can help absorb cluttering data from the business card, hence making it neater and much more pleasant to the eyes, Sensitive details that can easily be mis-typed; like urls; emails and phone numbers can be embedded in the QR.

Aside of embedding of QRs on business card, they can also be printed on several other merchandises like T-shirts, mugs or even billboards for advert purposes.

blog.imprintables.com

Many smartphones and some future phones come pre-installed with QR/Bar-code scanners, and those that aren’t shipped preinstalled with scanners can easily be made to support scanning of QRs by installing an appropriate scanner app (which are available for all  smartphones).

www.dreamstime.com

Having said all these, how then are the QRs generated?

QRs can be generated from a variety of means, most of which are online, where users browse to, enter details and generate QR (Google QR generate), the problem is most of the details you type in are already stored on your mobile phone or PDA making the QR generation’s data entry process a repetitive and boring one. With abundance of QR scanners on smartphones, it is easy to notice the absence or shortage of generators on these platforms.

*sighs* But Yeah, There are some very good generators out there for mobile phones, one of which is “Contact Share App” on Android.

CONTACT SHARE APP

This very application makes it very convenient to generate QRs for several contacts/people/personnel especially when you have them all already stored on your phone, just click and generate, bringing up the option for selection of the encode format (yeah yeah, in the electronic card industry there are standards to ensure universal support among scanners). Two of the most popular format is MECARD and VCARD. usage of either of these formats will ensure wide support from scanners.

The app customizes each generated contact QR with the contacts name for ease of identification.

The app ensures full cloning of your details (especially when the VCARd format is used) allowing users to embed within the QR the contact’s

  • Phone number(s)
  • Email (s)
  • Address(es)
  • Organization detail(s)
  • Website(s)
  • Social Network(SN)
  • Nickname(s)
  • and Notes.

All these can be embedded in the image.

To generate a QR for a contact in your address book, download the application here

  • Start up the application, to bring out the home screen (image below)
  • Click on share contact

  • In the contacts tab
  • scroll to or search for desired contact
  • select desired Contact

  • Clicking on the contact changes the viewpage to the operation page with outlines of the contact details clearly written out
  • Select create Card/QR

  • Select QR image

  • Select your desired format, MECARD (very popular in Japan) or VCard, the most popular format

(NB: The more detail the contact has stored in its profile, the more complex the QR gets, and the harder it is to read for scanners 🙂 )

After generating your QR, it can then be added unto your business  card or distributed on it’s own. MECARD and VCARD can be read by all scanners.
You can now customize your business card with the newly generated QR;

Top 13 Phones, That Shook The Nigerian Mobile Market (part 1)

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The mobile phone industry as been a thriving and ever-growing industry since the  emergence of Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) in 2001. Over the years, a staggering amount of phones have roamed our markets, ranging from top manufacturers like Nokia, Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, RIM to the budding manufacturers like Tecno, G-tide, etc.

We may have seen the rise and fall of so many handsets over the decade, only a handful of these handset really made landmarks in popularity and market penetration, of these devices, the top (according to internal Naijaspecs’ staff poll) 16 devices that really shook the nation out of the pool of so many mobile phones in these remarkable hall-of-fame are: ,

13. Nec (E616 and E313):

Nec E313 and E616
Nec E313 and E616

These were 2 very popular phones that really stole the hearts of youths in Nigeria. E313 and E616 were released in the early 2004 and late 2003 respectively but didn’t make their way into the Nigerian market till late 2004 to early 2005. They packed such nifty specs and features, so much that when looked back upon, they were a little ahead of its time. The E313, very long candy-bar phone, with a rotatable camera (180 degrees). Spotting a 65k colour screen, 3G mobile network, VGA camera, with expandable memory (Sony MemoryStick Duo), support for 3gp videos and MP3, and text copy-paste function :D, it really impressed (you can even place shortcuts of files or bookmarks on the desktop/home-screen :O ). E616  was a similar device but with a Flip/ Clamshell form.

12. Nokia 5130 (Express Music):

Nokia 5130. image from: chandigarhcity.olx.in
Nokia 5130.
image from: chandigarhcity.olx.in

Nokia’s brand of Xpress Music mobile phones, were a real hit in Nigeria, noteworthy is the Nokia 5130. It was very portable, very affordable, brightly coloured (although peels off quite easily 😦 ), has a very good audio  output via both the main speaker and stereo headset, built in support for  mp3, 3gp, java and stereo FM. A rich 2 inch display with 256k colours,  Its highlight is the up-gradable memory, which supports upto 16GB memory!!! Real deal for Nigerian music enthusiasts.

11. Sony Ericsson P800 and P-9X series:

SE: P800
SE: P800

The P800 was a pioneering phone of the P-series of UIQ based Symbian touchscreen devices. They were very high end devices with the p800 sporting a processor clocked at  156MHZ, it resistive touch input based made it stylishly elegant among the other phones in it’s era. It was very expensive back then, a real sign of elegance and stash, with lot’s of advanced features (Bluetooth and infrared). What can we say, it was what we had before the Iphones got here :).

10:  Blackberry Curve 2 (8520):

BB Curve 8520. image from: www.tudocelular.com
BB Curve 8520.
image from: http://www.tudocelular.com

RIMs entrance into the Nigerian market was at first, ” A rich and business man only” type, until they slowly started eating up the market, by the time Blackbery became Viral, Curve 2 was it’s most trending device among youths, adult and students. It was very affordable, although not mass market stuff. With the insurgence of “London use” and Blackberry fever, this phone swarmed the markets and city stores. It packed quite a punch, replacement of the trackball was very well received by fans and followers. 256k colour, 320 * 240 resolution on a ~2.5 inch screen was ok enough to produce quality displays (although far from retina-clear images :D). Sports a 512MHZ processor, 256MB internal memory which can be upgraded to 32GB (microSD card) giving multimedia savvies the chance to get as much space as possible (relative to that era) to download and entertain themselves. It had only one shortcoming, lack of a camera-“Flash”.

Yeah, one more feature,  it still PINGS! /kping/

9.  Sony Ericsson WT180 (Walkman)

SE: W800
SE: W800

The very first of the Walkman brand of devices from Sony Ericsson, released in 2005. It features incredible media capabilities, a 2MP camera, video recording and flash. It’s volume can be increased so high, you would think it can be increased infinitely. It’s speakers are very loud, data exchange via Bluetooth and infrared, 3.5 mm headphone jack,  and support of upto 2GB storage memory expansion via Memory Stick Pro Duo card. It’s java capabilities was also very good, it’s shortcomings were the very annoying joystick, kind-of ugly case and very difficult to configure GPRS settings (it almost seemed like no Nigerian carrier had an auto-settings for it).

Many Nigerians fell for the Ikeja fufu version of the phone then, it’s actually can be said to be the second of the most reported cases of fufu incident, second only to the K750.

8. Nokia 6600

Nokia 6600. Image: www.evermotion.org
Nokia 6600.
Image: http://www.evermotion.org

Launched mid-late 2003, it was a very high end phone making several cameo appearances in music videos and movies. It was a show stopper, it’s specification was top-notch (for it’s era 😉 ). It also was loved by both casual users and techies alike, powered by the Symbian OS, 104mhz processor, 6MB RAM (for it’s time top notch, now, that’s almost same memory my phone’s launcher uses 😀 ), which for it’s era permitted multitasking, housing lot’s of application in it’s memory. It was one of the fore-runners of Symbian O.S’ Golden-Age.

7. Thuraya, Fable or Real?

Thuraya
Thuraya

Yeah, Thuraya, the dream phone of the Nigerian Stereotypical  dad, it was heavily coveted by Nigerians of a 50 years and above demographic. They are set of satellite mobile phones produced by a UAE based international mobile satellite service provider. Providing voice and data service to even areas not covered by GSM networks. Lately, they’ve been manufacturing phones that can work both in GSM range and satellite range. Many Nigerians till date still think this phone is a myth. Even I have never seen one before except for the ones featured in their CNN adds.

6.Sendo-X

Sendo X
Sendo X

yeah, this mobile phone should way close to the top-three phones, had it been it was apealing to class of ages. One of the most adored phone by tech-enthusiasts, the mobile phone featured the same features a high end phone of that era would feature at half the expected price, it marks the switch from Microsoft mobile OS platform to Symbian platform by Sendo hence, was powered by series 60 Symbian O.S 6.1. Supports both Bluetooth and infrared connections. 32MB internal storage memory expandable via a MMC/SD card.

It’s firmware updates were easy to perform, download so much that a novice mobile user can perform while sleeping. It’s O.S was very stable, albeit prone to getting hot when used for long periods with data turned on. It played most 3d games very well.

We loved it, I loved it.  It was LEGENDARY!.

It’s only shortcoming was the absence of a stereo output module via either the headphones or speakers, claims are that it outputs stereo quality via Bluetooth  I actually never got to confirm that 😦 .

Page 2 Here

Top 13 Phones, That Shook The Nigerian Mobile Market (Final)

This is the concluding section of the article on the top 5 mobile phones that made spotlights in Nigeria, if you have not read the initial part, it is highly recommended you do, has we analysed the devices from 13th position to 6th (link here).

After having analysed 8 of the 13 phones in the previous post, This here is the top 5 phone’s that shook our mobile industry.

5. Motorola Razr V3 (Blade)

SE: Moto Razr V3
Motorola RAZR V3:

Released in 2004, it was the thinnest mobile phone in it’s time, so much that Nigerians nicknamed it “Blade”. Very slick looking clam-shell phone,  perfect finish, sleek looking luminescent keypad  with embossed thin lines to guide your fingers, it’s design was simply PERFECT. Several colour variations, the black and silver were very sexy hence making appearances in Bourne movies.

The looks were not only it’s strength, it’s speaker is crystal clear and sound, the camera was a little poor but permits snapping even from the mini-screen.

It’s shortcoming only was the limited storage space with no form of expansion slot.

Overall. the phone was a real beauty.

4. Motorola T180 (Talk-About)

Moto T180
Motorola T180

Yeah, that very large mobile phone MTN distributed with their very first 0803 sims, The phone was as expensive as some of today’s smartphone, lol. Sporting a very high pitch speaker and ringtones, it’s the only phone worthy of calling it’s rintone, alerts. It’s memory was so small (practically almost had none), it could only store contacts on your sim card, with very minute call records could only store about 5 missed calls and 5 received calls, 10 dialed calls.

It practically almost had no other extended feature, apart from call,sms and alarm, but it allowed us receive call any where we went, even in class. Unlike our wired land lines. Looking back at this, no one ever imagined a the possibility of having a device like the galaxy S3 right?

3. Nokia N70

Nokia N70
Nokia N70

Pioneer of the N-series brand of mobile phones, it was practically the most coveted smartphone in it’s era in Nigeria, back then it was so powerful, you would think it’s RAM was limitless as so many apps could hover in the background, “alive”. it played almost all the series 60 Symbian 3D game perfectly at flawless frame-rate.

It had a front facing camera and a 2 mega-pixel rear camera, it also supported 3g network, hence ensuring faster downloads using xget, fget (:) #memories). It was very powerful in it’s time, as it’s processor was clocked at 220 MHZ. It had a 55 MB RAM, although internal memory was very small, a measly 22 MB, it could be extended via a MMC ( hot-swap-able MMC at that).

2. Nokia 1100 (Torch)

Nokia 1100
Nokia 1100

What can we say, the world’s best selling mobile handset () with over 200 million units sold, these phone is so popular, it can be argued everybody at one point or the other has either owned the phone or touched it. Released in 2003 but became popular way later in that decade, it was many users main call receiving phone as the smartphones were very prone to having poor battery strength due to their features. Although targeted at developing countries and mass market, many rich-men and moguls have it as the phone housing their main call sim.

It outsold all the other competing phones around it, e even with the insane features the phones available during it’s days were, It has the very basic needs of a mobile phone, calls, text… Even has a dedicated torch-light and 2 games, Snake and the popular Space-Impact.

Nokia 1100 Trivia:

  • World’s best selling handset.
  • Nokia’s one billionth handset sale was an 1100, guess where, Nigeria 🙂
  •  It has torchlight
  • it didn’t have a capacitive/resistive touch screen, didn’t have a coloured screen, didn’t have wifi, bluetooth, infrered, could not play mp3 neither could it play polyphonic tones, but it did one thing very well, “It’s job, making calls”.

1. Nokia 3310:

Nokia 1100
Nokia 3310

World’s most indestructible phone, so resilient it was dubbed “o ja bo ko fo, omo na bouncing” :D. This phone sold over 160 million units, it practically was and still is, indestructible. For it’s time it features were beyond the phone’s that were released in it’s era, while the t180 talk-abouts, Sagem and Trium were being sold, the 3310 gave us unique features that were stellar in it’s time, like a calculator, stop watch, 35 built in catchy ring tones, custom tune support which can be built using the tone composer or downloaded and screensaver support.

It also comes built in with 4 very addictive games, Bantumi, Pairs II, Snake II and the legendary Space Impact (that was so addictive, even with the PlayStation in your room, you still won’t mind hiding under the dining table so as not to get caught draining battery).

Nokia 3310 Trivias:

  • More back cover/casing than the total amount of BB pouches out there.
  • Didn’t need a screen protector or guard
  • Doesn’t need rooting or jailbreaking
  • Highly indestructible, can survive falls over very distances.

Here’s something for you to deliberate on…

Nokia 1100
IPhone 5 vs Nokia 3310

Enter… The Firefox OS

Do you know what’s interesting about the current free-for-all for mobile operating system dominance? You guessed right! New entries! We are sure you have heard of The Firefox OS by Mozilla? Sure you have!

firefoxos

Launching a new mobile OS is a difficult project since the market leaders, Android and iOS, have such a big lead. Even Microsoft, with its near-infinite financial resources and vast ecosystem of complementary products, has struggled over time to gain traction. With the rising standards technology giants have set for themselves as they duke it out for market dominion, new entrants will have to face what I call a chicken-and-egg problem: developers don’t want to write apps for a platform without many users, while users don’t want to buy a phone without many apps.

First off, to sustain any early momentum, Mozilla will need to convince developers to build Firefox OS apps. Firefox OS apps will be built entirely using HTML5. According to Mozilla, the thousands of developers who already know how to build Web apps will be able to build Firefox OS apps with minimal additional training. And because they’re built on open standards, Mozilla hopes that Firefox OS apps will work reasonably well on other platforms that support HTML5—which is to say, all of them.

firefox-os-mobile-030712

Thanks to ArsTechnica, we know the Firefox OS architecture has three layers, dubbed “Gonk”, “Gecko”, and “Gaia”. Gecko is the rendering engine at the core of the Firefox browser. Below Gecko sits Gonk, a bare-bones Linux distribution derived from Android. Above Gecko sits Gaia, a touchscreen user interface not too different from those found on other mobile operating systems. It makes sense that Mozilla would choose to make Gonk a derivative of Android because many device makers already know how to make devices that run Android. According to Mozilla “If you’re an OEM, you already have basically all the capabilities to run our system.” It is also worthy to note that since Firefox OS apps are essentially just Web apps, app developers are not required to use Mozilla’s app store at all. A developer can distribute a Firefox OS app as a “hosted app,” delivered from any Web server.

firefox3-Apps-list

Firefox OS looks familiar to anyone who’s used Android and iOS: when you turn it on, you’re faced with the familiar grid of apps. Swiping left and right slides in other pages of apps. And across the bottom of each page is a fixed set of four apps: the phone dialer, a text-messaging app, the Firefox browser, and the camera app. As with iOS, swiping to the leftmost screen launches a search app. But unlike iOS, this search app is wired not just to your own apps but also to the Firefox Marketplace and to the Web at large — remember, this is a browser-based OS. If you find an app you like in the search results, you can pin it to one of your screens for easy future access. Firefox OS comes with a range of built-in apps such as Facebook and Wikipedia, and even mapping services. A long-press on the home button invokes a task switcher so you can juggle among open apps.

firefoxcontact

A contacts app lets you open up a screen full of information about people you know. It serves as a hub to phone them, send e-mail or text messages, or check their Facebook walls. Facebook integration also lets people import their contacts; Mozilla plans to add import mechanisms for services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail — something it knows how to do by virtue of its Thunderbird e-mail software for PCs.

firefoxpicturepart2

firefoxpicturepart1

A camera app, which also is accessible from the lock screen, has tabs for taking photos or videos, and it’s got a link to the built-in gallery app. That app lets you crop photos, apply some basic color filters, adjust contrast, and take actions like sharing photos on Facebook or by Bluetooth wireless networking.

firefoxsearch

It feels so much like an earlier version of Android. It’s definitely good, though, that Firefox OS can get a running start in the app ecosystem by mobilizing the vast army of Web programmers — programmers who might well be happy they can reach Firefox OS customers without having to jump through nearly as many hoops as the Apple App Store or Google Play present. It is already available of several phones such as the ZTE Firefox Phone, Keon and Peek by Geeksphone. Firefox OS should be fully open to all by 2014 and if successful, it should change the way we use the Web. We are used to visit websites but Firefox OS will bring an era where we will be using Web apps more than Websites. Ubuntu for Phones will also support Firefox OS to help bring in this change.