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My first week with Firefox OS

Upon arrival in Australia, I’ve decided to make my new Keon my Australian phone, keeping my Italian SIM in my SGS2. After a week of usage, here are my first impressions (I’m using the 1.2 branch).

Overall
The overall quality of the software is good, it does almost anything you’d expect a smartphone to do, plus the battery life is really really good. The only thing I’ve noticed is that tap precision is not really good, but I can’t say if this is a software or a hardware issue.

Mail
The mail program is the shittiest part of the whole OS. Since it doesn’t accept neither non-TLS/SSL servers nor ones with a self-signed certificate, it basically prevented me from using all of my email accounts. I really hope this problem will be addressed in the future as it really damage the experience.

Phonebook
The phonebook is quite good, with plenty of fields to write to. The only downside is that it takes a lot of taps to actually manage to call someone compared to the “swipe and call” behaviour of Android’s phonebook.

Calls and messages
Nothing to report here so far. They both work pretty well.

Browser
The browser is not exactly bad, but it’s still well behind Firefox for Android. Two main missings: reader mode and the fact that you can’t store login form data in the browser and you have to type them every single time. Considering that a good password is usually complex, it takes ages every time to log in a website.

Marketplace
The marketplace is really good, straightforward and easy to use. The only drawback I’ve noticed so far is that there’s no way to tell if your installed app is up-to-date or if it needs to be updated, and how the update is done (automatically (always/on wifi), manually, whatever).

Data usage measurement
It either doesn’t work, or my provider can’t count. My provider in fact rounds up used data big time (it has 1 MB increments per session, so if you use only 50 kB in one session it still charge 1 MB), but despite that data usage reported by the phone was always quite higher than the one reported by my carrier.

Keyboard
I know that phone screen sizes are relatively small, but the keyboard is still quite poor. I would have expected at least to be able to type a number by holding a first-row key instead of switching every time to the number and symbols keyboard. Moreover, word replacement with the first suggested is turned on by default and it drives you nuts as it misses the word you want to type 50% if the time and you end up writing shit. I’ve disabled it and all’s fine now, but it really should be off by default.

Cursor selection
This is another quite crappy thing, as the only way to position the cursor where you want is to tap in the position you want it to go and hope for the best, as 70% of the time it won’t go where you want. Would it be so difficult to implement a cursor handler as Android has, so that if you put the cursor in the wrong position with the first tap it’ll be easier to then move it to the right place? This is of paramount importance if you want to put the cursor at the end of a line, e.g. at the end of a long url or of a message line, because usually the Go or Send button is pretty close to the end of the text and if you’re not extra-careful (or have extra-thin fingers), you’ll probably end up touching the send button instead of positioning the cursor at the end of the string.
My workaround until now is to put the cursor not exactly at the end, delete text I still need to shift the end of the string to the left until there’s enough space to safely put the cursor at the end of the string and start deleting/adding from the end.

Internet sharing
The wifi hotspot works pretty well, while the usb tethering doesn’t. I have my kernel set up right, with all the drivers loaded, but when I connect the phone to use it with usb tethering the connection stays up for less than a minute then the phone is disconnected and the net card associated with it (usually usb0) doesn’t appear anymore.
Plus, from time to time, instead of opening a website it gives a “(104) Connection reset by peer” and it won’t open that website anymore until I reboot the phone. It doesn’t happen with all websites, and they also vary from time to time.

As I said, the overall experience is good, but there’s surely a lot of room for improvement almost everywhere. I’m pretty sure there are bugs opened for all (or almost all) the issues I’ve reported, but I haven’t got the time to check yet.

8 commenti per "My first week with Firefox OS"

For the self-signed certificate, you can try using master/1.4 and to import the certificate using the hidden Wi-Fi dialog using WPA-EAP ( https://github.com/mozilla-b2g/gaia/pull/14522 ), but I confess I haven’t tried it myself (as localizer I am mostly on 1.3).

I experienced the same issue with touch precision on my Keon, but thought that I wasn’t used to the active screen not starting on the edge. But there are also bugs which unpair the click areas from the content view (don’t remember anymore where it exactly, but it happened in the settings app).

Keyboard settings are worse on 1.3: Vibration, sound, auto correction – all turned off. Hopefully no carrier ships it like this. (At least the password input for Wi-Fis doesn’t seem to get auto corrected anymore.)

The dropping internet sharing via USB is likely due to USB access getting turned off with screen lock (hardware controlled powersaving?).

    Apart from the fact that I’m on the 1.2 branch, do you realise that you can’t ask an user to do all that just to access their email, don’t you? And you’re still stuck if you don’t have TLS/SSL.

    About the keyboard: honestly I think everything turned off is the best option there is, and it’s the one I’m using now. So this is a matter of point of views ;)

    Thank you for the tip about the USB connection dropping, but that’s a plain bug then: if I tether, I want the screen off and the connection working!

Andrew Sutherland
rispondi

Another option for making the e-mail app work is, if it’s a server you control or can talk to the operator, get/have them get a CA-valid SSL certificate. StartCom provides 1-year certs for free at https://www.startssl.com/?app=1

(While certificate pinning is more secure than the general CA infrastructure, Gecko doesn’t really support it. Thunderbird’s support of certificate exceptions just limits us to accepting one specific invalid certificate; Thunderbird will still gleefully connect to a server with a valid cert despite the exception unless the certificate store has had all of its authorities removed so all certificates are effectively invalid.)

    In my case it may work (although I believe I can’t ask Dreamhost do implement one of those certificates because they’d laugh at me) in some cases, but again: I believe most people out there don’t manage their mail servers, nor can’t really ask their providers.

You can apply the patch in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=921964 to mozilla-central to get cursor positioning.

    Good to know that they’re working on it; I think I’ll just wait for the patch to land on some binary firmware.

About the USB internet sharing… this was not working because ADB disconnected once the screen turned off. This was a security feature. A patch to stop this behavior went into v1.3 via . So if you want to see it working you have to use v1.3.

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