Friday, Oct 31, 2014

8 things you need to know before buying a Firefox phone

All you need to know about firefox smartphones The official WhatsApp instant messaging application is currently not there in Firefox Marketplace.
Written by Debashis Sarkar | New Delhi | Posted: August 29, 2014 9:45 pm | Updated: September 1, 2014 8:03 am

With the launch of two low cost Firefox smartphones- Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 in India, smartphone buyers have got a lot queries. From a layman’s perspective, here’s what you get and what you don’t get in these two Firefox smartphones. Also, be clear that Firefox has nothing to do with Android. Both are completely different operating systems.

The Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 are 2G enabled smartphones and don’t support 3G. On the connectivity front, both devices features WiFi, Bluetooth and USB tethering. Also, both handsets are very basic in nature with the only mission being to connect users to the Internet and social networking platforms. So, multimedia experience with both the handsets are pretty basic.

Here’s what you need to know:

1) You don’t need an email ID to operate Firefox OS. In Android, you need to have a Gmail account to access most features of the operating system along with Google Play. In Firefox, users are not required to enter an email ID to access the operating system. This makes sense given the fact that Firefox wants to connect the masses to the Internet without any barrier.

2) Using Firefox smartphones are relatively easy when compared to Android. First-time smartphone users will not encounter much difficulty in operating the OS. The call, messaging, contacts and Firefox browser icons are always present on screen and the experience is more like using the home screen of Android with swiping left and right giving to access apps.

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On the home screen, there’s a bar showing “I’m thinking of…” through which users are directed to Google search. Accessing Internet on the Firefox OS is very simple and user-friendly.

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3) Firefox OS supports all major social networking apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Quora, Pinterest.

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4) Very low internal memory. You will need a microSD card to start your multimedia experience with the device. So, if you don’t have one, add the price of a microSD card to the cost. Both handsets support up to 4 GB of external memory.

5) WhatsApp is not available directly. Yes, you got that right. The official WhatsApp instant messaging application is currently not there in Firefox Marketplace . “Users can connect to WhatsApp via third party app called ConnectA2,” said James Ho, senior director, Firefox Mobile Devices Group.

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We tried to connect to WhatsApp on the Intex Cloud FX smartphone using the ConnectA2 third party app and we failed. ConnectA2 asked for nick name, country and mobile number to register. Then it asked to enter a six-digit code which the app sent via SMS. The SMS never arrived! We also tried the voice call feature to get the code but failed again.

The ConnectA2 app should have worked but we have no clue as to why it failed us on the Intex Cloud FX.

6) Popular games and apps missing. There’s no Angry Birds or Temple Run or Candy Crush or other other popular games. However, you can play Flappy Birds. The Firefox Marketplace is in a pretty nascent stage but soon you can expect more apps on the platform as apps can be easily ported.

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7) Consumes less mobile data. Firefox OS uses web compression techniques which reduces mobile data consumption. Also, as both the devices are 2G only, the data consumption is low when compared to 3G enabled smartphone. So, users can expect 1 GB of data to last the entire month with average usage.

8) More battery life. You can expect both the Firefox handsets to have a greater battery life when compared to other low cost Android handsets.

Stay tuned to this space to read the exclusive in-depth review of both Intex Cloud FX and Spice Fire One Mi-FX 1 soon.

Got questions? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.

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