A Week with Firefox OS Flame

Firefox OS Flamedisclaimer:

  • I’m still using the stock version of the o/s shipped with Flame which is 1.3.0.0-prerelease
  • I haven’t hook the device up to my Mac and do something with either AppManager, AppMaker or anything else

Following my previous post about unboxing Firefox OS Flame, it’s now time write a little review about the device. I was using the phone for the past week, not doing much actually. Mostly i used it for making couple of calls (voice and ussd), browsing, trying some apps, taking screenshots and photos.

So here it is.

For a very young O/S, Firefox OS has done pretty well to serve the basic, as a phone O/S. The screen is bright and nice. I hate the vibrate-when-you-press-buttons so i’ve disabled it (did it too on my G2 and Mi3). It’s somewhat different than I am used to, but seem to work fine after playing for a while. The battery is so good IMO. It can be a day phone compare to … my iPhone 5 :) You can leave the Flame unplugged overnight after some playing around with it and it just cost you about 25% of the juice. I was using it in 3G GSM mode most of the time, not yet trying to use it for tethering.

Mail is one of my must-have app. And Firefox OS mail app is doing fine. Setting up account, fetching the mail and reading and compose. Right now, you can only attach video, music or photos from your gallery or taking picture with the camera.

 

As photographer and heavy Instagram user, I use camera a lot. Flame’s camera is decent enough to take pictures but not by my standard. It might be unfair because I’m using iPhone’s and G2’s camera so far. Well leave the metering filter and all the fancy things, it’s nice if you can at least pick your own focus instead of the “auto focus” offered by the camera app. You’ll now what I mean when you try it.

These are some picture i took. Indoor in CGK airport. The light was enough to take pictures without adding flash. And I was surprised that online exif viewer I used said the photos were taken at f/2.6 :) My Mac’s Preview app said it’s f/2.8.

Sample of EXIF reading

These are photos taken with my iPhone 5 for comparison:

Good thing is in Firefox OS 2.0 the camera app seems to have an upgrade. Rara showed me her Flame (which’s been upgraded to 2.0 nightly) camera app can do manual focus selection. You’ll see that green square box showed up when you touch a focus area in your screen. But still. the JPEG output still need a lot of work.

Apps.
Well like i said, i used the Flame for browsing. So i have nothing more to say about the browser. It’s Firefox anyway :D
I’m still using the stock apps. Camera, Messages, Facebook, Twitter and Market Place. Annoying part is when you run an ‘app’ there’s a time when you need to go back to the previous stage/screen of the app. There’s no Back button in place. Instead, there’s a tiny face down white arrow in the bottom right corner of the screen. You have to gently slide/touch it up to bring up the set of back-forward-refresh button.

I haven’t test the FM Radio yet.

The voice call is also crisp and clear. But the first major problem i’ve encountered was from the dialler app. I was filing a bug for not being able to make USSD calls using ZTE Open C with Firefox OS 1.1. Now in 1.3, the USSD feature is still buggy.

In Indonesia, USSD is the main course for operators to help their customer accessing their services. Because its menu driven view. My case was:
1. making USSD call to *888# (Telkomsel) to check my balance. OK, hung up.
2. after top up, make call to *888# again and hung up.
3. call to *363# to view the data related services offered by Telkomsel. browse along the menu, and found 1 menu taking too long to get the response. hung up
4. retry #3 and try different menu, found 1 menu too long to response. hung up.
5. retry #3 and after press call suddenly FFOS gave me session expired confirmation.
6. trying different USSD short codes, same behaviour appeared. Session expired message right after you press that green call button.

So i have to do the Blackberry way, take out the battery, wait for couple of seconds, put it back and turn the phone on. USSD back to normal. (????) :P

Once, i left the phone powered off for a whole night. When i turn it on in the morning everything looks normal. I saw the red Thundersoft splash screen followed by the blue firefox os boot up screen. But after that blank. Only a screen with that green grass background, no icons, no text, nothing. I’ve press all the buttons, slide up down left right still no changes. It went back to normal after i turned the phone off and wait for couple of seconds and turn it back on.

I also have a case when my SIM card suddenly not recognised. Back to normal after i set the airplane mode on, wait for couple of seconds and turn the airplane mode off.

Last update, when i’m writing this post, I call to *363#, choose menu #8 and then #1 to check my status, got Radio not Available. Then i enter 9, it should return incorrect keyword but i got stuck in “sending….” status instead. And it went like that for minutes until i took off the battery.

iphone5_480x640_IMG_2067

Stuck in this state for minutes until remove the battery

*yawn* That’s all i can write this time. I think FFOS 1.3 still has many issues, specially the USSD and the O/S stability. I’ll try to play it around a little longer before decide to try the FFOS 2.0 nightly.

Anyone know how to import my Google/iCloud contacts to the Firefox OS contact?

Leave a Reply

4 Comments

  1. marek

    I’ve got my Flame today. I’ve not even put SIM card inside yet, juts playing via WiFi.
    Import of Google contacts is very easy, there is Settings in contacts application and select Google Contacs, and voi’la… Update is sometimes troublesome, but initial import works like a charm.
    My questions are (I’m as well on 1.3 version): do you have (when SIM is IN the phone) in settings menu option to manage A-GPS? I see it nowhere and it confuses me.
    Vibrations on keypress I quite like on Geeksphone Revolution device, but they are too negligible on Flame, so I turned them off as well…
    What I see as strange is:
    – clicking sound is almost never played for the first keypress (after some time) – the same for you?
    – download of less than 5MB apps is very fast, but larger apps are being dowloaded insanely long – the same for you?
    – Update / manual Check for updates / always ends up with “Please, check your network”, is it normal?
    – sound volume when on minimum is still quite loud, IMO, is it OK?
    That’s it for now,
    cheers,
    Marek

    • Hi Marek
      Thanks for the tip on importing google contacts :)
      – about A-GPS
      1. go to setting – cellular & data
      2. choose the available sim card (mine is sim 1 because it’s 3G)
      3. click on the sim card and you’ll find the A-GPS setting at the bottom

      – yes, the clicking sound is a little big lagging, you can feel the delay

      – so far i dont have issue with >5MB app download, i have issue with the folder (social, games, music, showbiz) they are lagging when displaying the icons (i mean the installed apps icon). I should be snap, i think it’s because they way FFOS displaying the icons of installed app is combined with the icons that being ‘fetched’ everytime you open a folder

      – i never had problem “Please, check your network” when checking system update. everything went normal and it displays “the system is already up to date.” :)

      – minimum here is one bar. i’ve try it using the keyboard click, i think it’s OK, not that loud. at least same sound with my iPhone keyboard clicks

  2. I conforme the issue with the SIM not being recognized but everything has been solved with 2.0

    • Hi Gabriele
      So far i have no issue with my SIM card not being recognized in my Flame stock OS
      even when i brought it roaming to France

      One thing that i feel uncomfortable is the USSD experience

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