Geeksphone

Pushing Firefox OS Apps to the Geeksphone

A push to device feature was added in the 3.0 release of the Firefox OS Simulator. This feature allows web apps to be pushed to a connected device by clicking one button in the Simulator Dashboard. Availability of the Developer Preview Phone from Geeksphone has raised interest in the feature, so this post will detail how to configure your Geeksphone and the computer running the Simulator to make use of it.
Firefox OS Simulator on a Mac

Setting Up the Geeksphone Device

To push apps to the Geeksphone Firefox OS Developer Preview phone, you first need to enable Remote debugging. This can be done from the Settings app by selecting Device information > More Information > Developer -> Remote debugging. Now we are ready to configure the computer running the Simulator.

Windows

The team at Geeksphone recently released a set of drivers for Windows to support USB communication with their phones. The drivers are available at Geeksphone’s Web Site (direct ZIP link).

To install them, first download and extract the zip file to a known location on your system. Next, connect the phone to your machine using the provided USB cable. Click on the Start Button and enter “Device Manager” in the Search programs and files text entry field and press enter. This will launch the Windows Device Manager. Alternatively, you can launch the Device Manager from the icon located in the Windows Control Panel.

Device Manager before driver installed

The connected phone will be listed under the Other Devices category. Right click on the Android label and select Update Driver Software….

Right Click options

In the Update Driver Software dialog, choose Browse my computer for driver software.

Update driver dialog

Locate the usb_driver folder from the Geeksphone download and make sure the Include subfolders checkbox is checked. Click on the Next button.

Locate Driver

You will most likely receive a Windows Security alert. Select the Install this driver software anyway entry.

Windows security alert prompt

This will install the proper USB drivers and list the phone as Geeksphone Device in the Device Manager.

Device manager with drivers updated

Launch the Firefox OS Simulator. The Dashboard should now contain a Push button and a Device connected message, and you should be able to add your Firefox OS app to the Simulator and push it to the phone.

Linux

If you are running the Simulator on a Linux machine, you will need to create or modify a udev rules file for the device. This process is described in “Setting up a Device for Development” (Steps 3.a and 3.b). The Geeksphone Firefox OS Developer Preview phone idVendor attribute is “05c6”, so your android.rules file should contain an entry similar to:

SUBSYSTEM==”usb”, ATTR{idVendor}==”05c6”, MODE=”0666”, GROUP=”plugdev”

After making the above changes, either reboot the system or restart the udev service:

sudo service udev restart

If you make these changes and the push to device button does not show up in the Simulator Dashboard, please see this workaround.

Mac

If you are running the Simulator on a Mac, no additional configuration is required to enable push to device.

Reference

Additional information about setting up and using the Firefox OS Simulator, including installing, adding apps, debugging and using the push to device capability can be found on the MDN page for the Firefox OS Simulator.

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Geeksphone to start selling Firefox OS Developer Preview phones on April 23

Mozilla, Geeksphone and Telefonica have been working together to create a Firefox OS developer preview phone, and we’re excited to say they will go on sale April 23rd. With early access to hardware, developers can test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment with a mobile network and true hardware characteristics like the accelerometer and camera that are not easily tested on the Firefox OS Simulator. Plus, new hardware is fun to play with!

Firefox OS Phones Up

Firefox OS Phones Up! Photo by Mark Coggins

The Firefox OS Developer Preview Geeksphone devices have development versions of Firefox OS and are are unlocked so that developers can use them wherever they are in the world and they are updated regularly with the latest Firefox OS build. This will enable developers to explore the potential of the open Web and to bring the power of the Web to mobile for billions of users worldwide.

Two developer devices

Geeksphone has two Firefox OS developer devices for sale, the Keon and the Peak. Both phones can be bought online and shipped to just about anywhere in the world. The Keon has similar specifications as the actual target hardware that operators will ship in the phones they roll out to consumers later this year. The Peak offers a slightly more high-end device for developers wanting to experiment with apps for devices that might be commercially available in the future.

The Keon is an orange (like Firefox!) phone with a 3.5″ screen Qualcomm 1Ghz processor and 512 MB of RAM. It’s available for €91 plus taxes, shipping and handling.

The Peak has a slightly larger screen (4.3″) and a Qualcomm DualCore 1.2Ghz processor. It costs €149 plus taxes, shipping and handling.

Both phones can be purchased directly from Geeksphone. Support and updates will also be provided directly by Geeksphone. Of course you can visit the Mozilla Developer Network for more information about Firefox OS and the Firefox Marketplace Developer Hub for information on how to build, publish and submit your open web app to Firefox Marketplace.

Existing web apps

Developers have already built and published awesome mobile web apps that you can check out today on the Developer Preview phone. We expect that these developer devices will inspire and enable even more. For some examples, you can check out the Marketplace for apps by indie developers that solve cool problems like:

Or try these indie games or challenge yourself to write your own game:

You can create an app for Firefox OS by making some small changes to your existing website. As Alexander Saladrigas said last weekend, “It was exciting to see Firefox OS in action on hardware that will be representative of the final commercial devices. I remember several devs pushing their web apps made for browsers or other platforms with the only addition of a tiny JSON manifest… and it worked flawlessly on the first try. I thought ‘Wow, that easy? Just as any web page?”

Although, it’s great to have the actual hardware to test your apps, if you’re not in a position to purchase a Geeksphone at the moment, you can still try out Firefox OS and your app in several other ways:

  • Install Marketplace for Android on your Android phone. (Your friends and family can also do this – it’s as easy as installing an app, so they can try out your app too.)
  • Use the browser-based Firefox OS Simulator to view and test your mobile app on the desktop.
  • Install Firefox OS on your own hardware.

Why develop an app for Firefox OS?

  • Keep the web open. Support the open web and help make sure the power of the web is available to everyone – even on mobile devices.
  • Simplicity. Develop on a single technology stack (HTML5/CSS/JavaScript/new WebAPIs) and deliver across the web and devices.
  • Freedom. You’re not locked in to a vendor-controlled ecosystem. You can distribute your app through the Firefox Marketplace, your own website, or any other store based on Mozilla’s open app store technology.

If you have any more questions, please read the Firefox OS Developer Preview. Below is also a helpful FAQ on Geeksphone.

We look forward to seeing what awesome apps developers make for the mobile open web. Happy hacking!

Geeksphone FAQ:

Q. What are you announcing today?

A. We’re announcing the availability of two Firefox OS developer preview devices manufactured by Geeksphone and available for purchase at www.geeksphone.com. These devices allow developers to test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment, testing characteristics such as real performance and interaction with the mobile network.

Q. What are the device specs and how much will each cost?

A. The Keon is equipped with a Cortex-A5 1Ghz processor, 3.5 inch multi-touch screen, tri-band UMTS/HSPA, 4GB ROM, 512 MB RAM and a long-lasting 1580 mAh battery. It will cost 91 € without VAT or shipping.

The Peak is equipped with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Qualcomm 8225 chipset, 4.3-inch qHD IPS screen, 8 Mpx back camera and 2 Mpx front camera, as well as tri-band UMTS/HSPA and 1800 mAh battery. It will cost 149 € without VAT or shipping.

Q. Why are there two devices?

A. The Keon has similar specifications to the actual target hardware that operators will ship in the phones they roll out to consumers later this year. The Peak offers a slightly more high-end device for developers wanting to experiment with apps for devices that might be commercially available in the future.

Q. Will Geeksphone ship to any country?

A. Yes.

Q. Who is Geeksphone?

A. Geeksphone is a Spanish company dedicated to designing and manufacturing latest generation smartphones. It was formed in 2009 and was the first European company to develop a smartphone featuring Android OS.

Q. What is Telefónica and Mozilla’s involvement?

A. Telefónica and Mozilla worked closely with Geeksphone to make it possible to manufacture these developer test units.

Q. Why do you need these devices?

A. Making preview developer devices available is crucial to ensure a rich ecosystem is ready when handsets launch for the mass market. The Geeksphone devices will allow developers to test the capabilities of Firefox OS in a real environment beyond the facilities provided by current emulators. It will be possible to test some characteristics like real performance and interaction with the mobile network.

Q. Are these the first ever Firefox OS devices?

A. Through the development of the project Firefox OS has been ported onto a number of different devices from different OEMs in order to test and demonstrate. This is the first time that developer handsets have been made available for developers working outside of the project to take away and test their applications. Today’s announcement does not represent a commercial launch for Firefox OS. These will take place later this year.

Q. Can consumers get the Geeksphone handsets?

A. These devices have not been designed for consumers and include pre-release development versions of Firefox OS. Although we know many people are excited to get their hands on Firefox OS, we would urge them to wait until commercial devices are ready and they will be able to get the full experience.

Q: What version of Firefox OS is this?

A: v1.0.1

Q: How often does it update?

A: The software will update every couple of weeks as new builds become available.

Q: Is this feature complete or will anything be added before launch?

A: This is a developer device with a developer build. New features, performance/stability enhancements will continue to be added on a regular basis. The software here is not necessarily 100% representative of what will ship into customer’s hands.

Q: How can I test v2/1.1/what’s next?

A: New releases will be automatically made available OTA (over the air) and developers who have a Geeksphone will be able to update to their build in order to test their apps.

View full post on Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog

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