January was too long a month, and February too short. But it was a busy short month and I regret I couldn’t write as often as I’d like.
I’ve been a using Evernote since I first heard of it a few years ago but I don’t think I’ve ever took full advantage of the application. I think I might start using the app for more, especially when writing blog draft posts.
In my previous post I mentioned the Firefox OS App Days in Manila, and it was by far one of the more exciting things I’ve participated in. It was also fantastic to meet another person from Mozilla’s HQ, William Reynolds (@dailycavalier). I wanted to write about it immediately after but a lot of work distracted me from writing a post about it fortunately Mozilla Philippines has a recap of the whole event written here.
Things have ramped up since then and from my end of the spectrum almost every blog since the Mobile World Congress has discussed Firefox OS entry into the market. One of the factors being the heavy hitters that’s lined up behind Mozilla’s operating system from Alcatel, LG, Huawei and ZTE to telecom companies like América Móvil, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Hutchison Three Group, KDDI, KT, MegaFon, Qtel, SingTel, Sprint, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telenor, TMN VimpelCom (source), and in our little corner of the world, Smart Communications.
One thing some tech blogs have missed during the reviews of the Firefox OS phones is that Firefox OS is targeting feature phones in emerging countries and not catering to the Smartphone market in First World countries. Naturally, it won’t have the features and speed the higher end phones would have, so expectations should be managed on the end of the reviewer.
Speaking of Smartphones, one phone that also caused waves prior to MWC 2013 was Blackberry Z10. I’ve briefly mentioned Blackberry’s new phone and noted how very familiar the UI was to Nokia N9 and WebOS. Two platforms I’ve come to love, I do have a penchant for falling in love with dead or dying platforms.
I haven’t had a hands on experience with the Z10 but based from the reviews and the videos I’ve perused this phone is catered to the power users and there’s quite a bit of a learning curve just to get a hang of it but once we do get the hang of it, it’s a phone that can help a lot productivity wise.
It’s also working to fix the lack of ‘ecosystem’ (truly loathe the term) by trying to make Android apps work in the phone very much similar (correct me if I’m wrong) with how Alien Dalvick would work on a non-Android phone.
Research In Motion, which has recently rebranded itself as ‘Blackberry’, has a tough mountain to climb. Much like Nokia, it took too long to jump into the Smartphone bandwagon and the company suffered from it, with a lot of its users shifting to iPhones or Android phones.
Time will tell if Blackberry’s gamble will pay off, I’m a fan of the underdog, so I really hope Blackberry pulls this off.
Things are gearing up for Mozilla’s very own Firefox OS, I touched upon the mobile OS in my previous post citing that Firefox OS is one of the many innovations Mozilla is currently developing. This is one innovation that is as ambitious as Mozilla’s first task: going up against a giant — in this case, two giants of the mobile field.
One of Mozilla’s big push for Firefox OS is to launch FirefoxOS App Days a global push to introduce and promote Firefox OS to developers. Since the name of this game is getting a good number of applications into the OS to replicate and to make the shift from iPhone and android easier for the consumer by providing seamless experience. This is after all the very crux of what Mozilla is trying to do with Firefox OS — break the walled gardens that made iPhone and android such a duopoly.
A few days before App Days, Mozilla together with its partner, Telefonica (through Geekphones) previewed its Firefox OS developer phones.
Firefox OS has a simulator in the browser but there’s nothing better, I bet, than getting the opportunity to use the physical phone to test out and develop apps for the mobile OS.
I admit I’m a little charmed by the orange but I also fancy the white, if only for the ‘Firefox OS’ brand at the back. It does bear a bit of a resemblance to an iPhone, which some people have already pointed out. Although I think of course that’s the shape and look it would look like because:
a) Smartphones tend to look this way these days save for a few phones out in the market.
b) It’s a developer phone so the look might still change.
But that discussion is neither here nor there, so let’s talk facts, what will the phone’s hardware be:
- CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 1Ghz
- UMTS 2100/1900/900 (3G HSPA)
- GSM 850/900/1800/1900 (2G EDGE)
- Screen 3.5″ HVGA Multitouch
- 3 MP Camera
- 4GB ROM, 512 MB RAM
- MicroSD, Wifi N, Light and proxmity Sensor, G-Sensor, GPS, MicroUSB
- 1580 mAh battery
- Over the air updates
- Unlocked, add your own SIM card
The specifications aren’t all that impressive considering all the other phones in the market today but we also have to remember that Mozilla is targeting the low cost smartphone market. Considering that, I’d say the phones can stand up on its own.
Another piece of good news for the mobile OS: Japanese carrier, KDDI seems interested in selling Firefox OS phones. Exciting times ahead for Firefox OS, especially this coming January 26th!
Also, if anyone’s interested, I’ll also be talking about Mozilla WebFWD on the Manila Firefox OS App days. If you have a startup with an Open Source component, you can drop by and talk to me.
It seems the season for colds has finally hit and it hit me hard, its not a favorite experience by a long shot and I’m glad I’m finally recovering from the cold.
(Chicken soup, sinigang and lots of Vitamin C seems to be just what the doctor ordered.)
Before the cold hammered down on me I attended my first Mozilla Campus Tour in Pamantasa ng Cabuyao in Laguna and it was a hell of an experience! I’ve never met a more passionate and talented group of kids like the Engineering students of PNC! They’re the kind of guys you would never regret hanging out with.
The Mozilla Campus Tour dealt with introducing what Mozilla was and its many projects to help advance the Open Web, what was surprising though was the programs the students prepared for our day long talk. There were pageants, songs, dances and even surprise serenades!
It was also with a sense of excitement that I listened to Mozilla Philippine’s Community Manager, Eusebio ‘Jun’ Barrun explain what Mozilla is and what it stands for then to hear Jean Austin Rodriguez Jr talk about Webmaker, piquing my interest about Webmaker and every project associated with it (Popcorn is something else!) then finally getting first hand experience with a Google Nexus with ‘Firefox OS’ (care of Robert Reyes) was one of the things that made my day!
Another interesting and fun thing to watch was Kemuel Domanog explaining and trying to drum up interest for Student Reps, very convincing discussion livened up with his random outbursts of ‘T-shirt!’
PNC was also where I first talked about Mozilla WebFWD, and that was an experience but a fun one! Also very nerve wracking, because I did mention there were a hundred or more students, right?
Fortunately, I was able to get through the presentation and even managed to get some questions from the students!
All in all, despite the torrential rain that met us when we arrived in Laguna it was a really fun and fulfilling one too. It was so great to meet so many kids who are always so excited and ready to meet any challenge with good cheer.
It made me proud to be in such great company.
Its going to be an interesting year in mobile.
The past few years Apple’s iOS and Googles Android mobile platforms have slowly and surely dominated the mobile market and as comScore reports, continues to leave other platforms in the dust as iOS and Android become a duopoly.
It can’t be denied that the iOS and Android are both fantastic platforms but IMO one of the reasons why people find it difficult to change phones is because of ’ecosystem’. Ecosystem is the much bandied around buzzword of 2012, and recently it became something of a pet peeve of mine whenever I come across the term. It’s become a reason for tech journalists to put down other platforms (mobile or otherwise) and its started to irk me because a lot of good laptops or phones are put down because of this one word catchphrase.
These ecosystems or walled gardens lock people into their platforms because most popular apps are developed for them and if developers want their apps used they have to join in too. It becomes a cycle where there aren’t a lot of users for a certain device (a Blackberry phone for example) because it lacks apps; the device lacks apps because the developers don’t make apps for that device because there aren’t a lot of users.
Except, this year things might change with the entry of not just one but four new mobile OS, a lot of tech journalists are pessimistic with the entry of these new OSes because they consider the mobile market ‘crowded’ but I don’t see how its any crowded with only two platforms casting a long shadow on everything related to smartphones. Yes, windows phones are trying their hardest to break into that two horse race, and Blackberry is throwing everything into their new BB10. So all in all, the market isn’t actually crowded and does have room for one or, hell, maybe even three more.
These four new mobileOS hopes to at least make a dent into iOS and Android’s duopoly.
Mozilla has and always will stand for the Open Web and fighting any kind of monopoly or duopoly that limit people’s choices. It’s something I’ve come to really love about Mozilla. FirefoxOS is Mozilla’s answer to the overwhelming closed ecosystems of both Apple and Google.
Since the biggest platform is still the internet Mozilla is bringing the Open Web to mobile. This, among other things is why Mozilla is a big supporter of HTML 5.
After Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop burning platform memo Elop pivoted Nokia away from its bid in making its own Mobile OS (Meego Harmattan) and straight into Microsoft Windows phones, whether that’s a good move for Nokia or not is something time will tell but as a recent Nokia N9 user I will say it was a pity they jumped from Harmattan to Windows.
(I honestly enjoy using Nokia’s Swipe UI together with the Harmattan’s multitasking abilities. Multitasking abilities that remind me a lot of webOS.)
A lot of Nokia engineers were not happy with the move and also jumped ship, this time away from the company and into Jolla and since that time they’ve been spinning Meego Harmattan into its newest iteration: SailfishOS. I’m not really a techie so I can’t go into details but only know that Meego Harmattan itself is based on Mer. Since the Swipe UI belongs to Nokia, Jolla developed the ‘Pulley system’, instead of swiping from the side, users will ‘pull down or up from one edge to another.
It looks very, very beautiful although I’m still partial to the Swipe UI, I think I could come around to liking the Pulley system too.
We come to an OS I’m least familiar about.
According to wikipedia: Tizen’s goal is very similar to FirefoxOS: an open ecosystem for the open Web. Unlike all the other upcoming OS, Tizen actually has one big advantage: Samsung. The giant tech company announced it will be using Tizen for a number of their smartphones.
The newest entry into the game! And most likely will be launching its first phones in 2014. One of the biggest things Ubuntu has going for it is that Ubuntu can be used from the desktop, to the TV and finally to the phones. I can’t say a lot about it yet except that its very gesture heavy and I’m loving the look.
Now, this is where things started it all for me — my interest for different OS other than an Android or iOS. I might give the impression I don’t like the two platforms but I do. Its just that after a while I found both limiting. webOS has a pretty fascinating, if tragic history. HP’s former CEO Apotheoker killed the HP Touchpad six months after the release, and with it Palm’s webOS, fortunately the few but dedicated developer community kept it alive long enough for HP’s new CEO to bring it out and relaunch as Open webOS.
One of the things I love about using webOS is the multitasking, I love how fantastic the multitasking is. Its limited in a number of ways but its very very freeing in others.
webOS Ports managed to port Open webOS to a Galaxy Nexus and it was my first time I’ve seen it and it really fascinated me enough to help me embark in finding other mobile OS. But back to Open webOS, I think this one has a lot of needles to thread before we ever see it as a fully functional mobileOS but I’m looking forward to that day.
So those are the new entrants to the mobile race and after my forage into the wilderness I actually came out of it very much platform agnostic. I realize that I love the idea of playing around with a lot of different platforms without getting locked in.
I love choice, I love that this will push innovation forward, and to paraphrase a familiar quote:
I, for one, welcome all our new mobile OS wall breakers.
I have a new phone! Christmas gift to myself after I was fed up with my phone hanging all the time.
It’s a Nokia N9! It’s not an Android, nor is it a Windows Phone. But it has a Meego Harmattan OS! Yes, I know its a ‘dead’ OS but look how beautiful the thing is and it doesn’t look like a Samsung nor an iPhone.
I may also have this thing where if I see the same thing constantly I get twitchy. So I opted for a different phone and a different user experience. I’m totally in love with the Swipe UI and is quite similar to webOS. Actually, Meego Harmattan is very similar to webOS in a lot of ways: true multitasking capabilities and a very easy and intuitive UI.
It’s not exactly something I can put my finger on to explain but I end up frustrated when I use an iphone or an android phone for long.
One thing that swayed me to Nokia N9 aside from how exceptionally beautiful it is (no, seriously just look at the deep blacks and the way the text just floats on screen!) but its because it has a very strong developer community. It might not have the iOS ‘ecosystem’ but I won’t be lacking in apps.
I seem to have a knack of falling in love with OSes that are not as known, and I sometimes wish more people knew about because of how beautiful and wonderful they are to use. The more I use the N9 the more annoyed I get at Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop for killing it prematurely and pivoting to using Windows as their main phone OS. I can’t help thinking that If the N9 is already wonderful with the N9, I can just imagine how fantastic it would be if it were developed further.
There might be some hope from the Sailfish OS developed by Jolla. Sailfish OS is based on Meego so I’m looking forward to seeing more of this OS.
The last few weeks of December has been extremely busy work wise and family wise but before things ramped up at work I was able to attend the 1st Women Entrepreneurs on Web organized by GDG Philippines Community Manger, Chelle Gray.
Chelle organized the Women of Entrepreneurs on Web with only less than week’s preparation and pulled it off awesomely!
It was great meeting other women and geek girls who are interested, or who are currently launching their own businesses. I was able to talk about my restaurant and even say a few words about Mozilla’s WebFWD program.
A few days later I was very fortunate to be invited and briefly sit in Mozilla Philippines Business Planning session in Makati.
Then I had to pop over to Ideaspace‘s ‘Faces of Change’ event. Ideaspace is a non-profit incubator helping science and technology start-ups around the country. ‘Faces of Change’ held a forum with the top successful start-ups in the country ranging from chikka.com, kuyi mobile, morphlabs, rappler, shoephoric.com and sulit.com.ph.
I think meeting Maria Ressa was the highlight of the event for me although I didn’t end up as articulate as I thought as I’d be when I started mentioning WebFWD to her. I think I got out about a few sentences in before the fan in me kicked in!
Since I’ve kind of made it mandatory to always mention WebFWD, I talk to a few people who seemed interested in joining WebFWD. I do hope they apply to the program! We also met Arky, a L10n Community Manager, I was able to speak to him briefly and he seemed to really like it here in the Philippines it is More Fun in the Philippines!
Mozilla Philippines actually has a contest running for the local L10n efforts:
Contest Rules & Guidelines:
- The contest is open to all Mozillians residing in the Philippines only.
- Participants must have a valid account at the Pootle Serverhttp://mozilla.locamotion.org/tl.
- The Top L10n Contributor for the Week (based on the number of suggestions accepted in the Pootle Server) will receive a Firefox Mini-Shirt plus awesome Firefox swags — all to be delivered right at your doorsteps.
- An L10n Contributor CAN ONLY WIN ONCE. If he/she will emerge as the Top L10n Contributor for another week after winning, the next guy/gal in line (2nd in rank) will be declared as the Weekly Winner.
- Winners will be posted here at our website every Monday at 1200H (PHL time) starting 31 Dec 2012 until 28 Jan 2013.
And, what is it we’ll win?
Cute, right? I thought so too! I do hope I get one!
So that’s the recap for the last days of 2012. The world didn’t end on the 21st because as the Modern Mayans on the net reminded us – they do still exist and just ’cause their calendar ended doesn’t mean its the end of the world. After all, the Ninth Doctor did tell us the world would end 9 billion years from now when the sun expands.
A lot’s happened since I last posted and one of them is getting really sick for the one day I didn’t wanted to be sick for: The Rail Girls Manila seminar.
Lemme tell ya, food poisoning suuuucks.
Maybe I was trying a lot too soon?
But before food poisoning downed me like an axed tree I managed to attend Form Function Class 2012 in UST (learning as much as I can about HTML 5 and Responsive Web Design) and a networking party for Startup Weekend Manila.
I enjoyed both events and I loved meeting the people, I love the energy they have, its like bringing the Open Source community and applying that same passion in real life. I love that people are happy to reach out and help. It’s a very awesome feeling to be part of.
In FFC2012, I met more Mozilla Reps (Eusebio ‘Jun’ Barrun Jr., and Robert ‘Bob’ Reyes) and Mozilla’s Didem Ersoz, who flew in from Mountain View.
I was also invited to a WebFWD talk where Didem talked about the Mozilla’s start-up accelerator program. I was so inspired by the talk I volunteered to be a scout for WebFWD — which, I was accepted to. I’m excited and anxious to start scouting, since I discovered what I wanted to do (the Lightning Strike Moment) I also realized how much I wanted to give back and help other people like me.
What is WebFWD?
In its own words WebFWD is:
A three-month business creation program for startups around the world. The program consists of weekly training sessions & exercises, office hours with industry experts, ongoing coaching and guidance from the world’s best technologists. Upon graduating, teams can qualify for follow-on funding from Mozilla.
In other words, WebFWD is Mozilla’s three month Open Source start-up accelerator program, WebFWD offers mentorship from a team of industry experts as mentors without needing to relocate. All you need is a webcam and an internet connection, and off you go!
So, if you have a start-up, a team, a code and a dream maybe WebFWD is for you! All you have to do is apply!
I’m just starting out as a WebFWD Scout but I’m very excited to help!
(And anxious, did I mention anxious?)
Entrepreneur Magazine PH: WebFWD: Helping innovators create businesses to change the world