Tag Archives: android

SUMO in 2013: Firefox Android

This is part 4 of SUMO in 2013, and the focus today is Firefox on Android!

Our goals for Firefox for Android support can be summarized in three words: Community, Mobilization, and Community! 🙂

Enable fully community-driven self-service support for Firefox for Android

The scope of SUMO has grown significantly in the last year. We went from supporting just one product (Firefox on the desktop) to multiple products, and this suddenly made the SUMO community feel small — despite being several hundred people strong!

In 2013, we will focus even harder on scale in order to keep up with all the support documentation needed for all of our products. With Firefox for Android, we want to enable a model where the ownership of the knowledge base is with the wider community. In practical terms, this means that the responsibility of keeping articles up to date and writing new ones would be shared by a wider group of people in our community.

Android is the most widely used mobile operating system today, and Firefox on this OS has made incredible improvements in the last year and is now easily the best web browser in the ecosystem. A big part of this has been our tireless work on helping our users on SUMO while listening carefully to what they’re telling us about their experience in places like our forum and in Google Play reviews.

Contributing to SUMO is a great way to get involved in this effort and help shape the future of Firefox on Android. Here are some ways you can dig in right now:

Develop mobile support web app with built-in social support


Bus Stop No. 75 by mgarbowski. (CC)

Imagine someone standing at a bus stop waiting for the bus to arrive in the morning. While she’s standing there, she pulls up her phone and launches the SUMO app where she finds a user who has a problem with Firefox for Android. She quickly pulls down a canned response, customizes the answer a bit and hits Send. Right there, as she was waiting for the bus, she was able to help a fellow Firefox user solve their problem. A few minutes later, karma kicks in: she gets a notification in her phone that the user found her answer helpful…. and the bus suddenly arrives!

In 2013 we want to enable mobile contributions like this — and this will of course also be useful to help users of all of our other products, including Firefox OS! We’re already well on our way with our work last year on mobilizing the SUMO website, but there are some more steps to take to “appify” it too — things like hooking into the mobile notification system.

This summarizes the key goals we are working on this year around Firefox for Android. Stay tuned for the final part of this blog series.

If you’re interested in getting involved and learning more about what we’re working on to make the web better, please join our discussions in our SUMO contributor discussions forum. Oh, and don’t forget that today is SUMO day. Help us answer questions in the support forum and join us in irc.mozilla.org channel #sumo!

Bedtime reading without eye strain: Screen Filter app

If you own an Android phone with an AMOLED or similar screen, there’s a great alternative to a front lit e-ink reader like Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Glo. It’s an app called Screen Filter that allows you to apply a transparent black “layer” over the screen, which makes everything on the screen darker. There is a slider that allows you to go as low as 2% brightness, which essentially creates a posterized view of the screen in mostly black.

On an AMOLED screen like the one on my Samsung Galaxy Note, this makes the screen incredibly dim — so dim in fact that if you’re using the Kindle Android app and you select white text on black background, my Note shoots out fewer photons into my eyes than the Kindle Paperwhite set to the lowest brightness setting (which is 0 on the device, since you can’t actually turn the lights completely off on it). And it’s still pretty readable after your eyes have adjusted to it, although you do want to increase the text size a little or you will begin to squint to reduce the glow around the text since your pupils get very large when it’s this dark. To be fair, the Paperwhite comes pretty close in terms of dimness, so it probably doesn’t make a huge difference. And the Paperwhite does provide a nicer, less disruptive reading experience compared to using your always-connected phone. By the way, I don’t own the Kindle Paperwhite, but I was able to test it for a few days. I decided to return it because of a dead ink “pixel”.

Screen Filter works on non-AMOLED screens too, but I find that on a normal LCD, the contrast takes a bigger hit. I tested this on my Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, and it wasn’t nearly as pleasant to read on with the brightness dimmed. Also, being a backlit LCD, it inherently leaks a lot of light regardless of Screen Filter strength. My Note definitely wins the fewest-photons-emitted contest by a large margin compared to the Tab.

So, why is this awesome? My wife normally complains when I’m using my phone in bed (which is a bad habit of mine I admit) because the brightness makes it hard for her to fall asleep. But with my Screen Filter activated, she can hardly even tell I’m using it. Another nice bonus is that you essentially don’t lose any of your dark vision when staring into the screen with the Screen Filter set to 2%.

The downsides of using your phone as a book reader remain though: it only takes one friend to send you a ping, text, Facebook update, or anything else and you’ll quickly get distracted. For maximized reading pleasure, be sure to mute the audio and stay disciplined and never context switch out of the Kindle app. And the downsides of reading in bed remain too: try to be wiser than I am and don’t read for more than an hour. Otherwise you’ll end up like me and stay awake until 3am and complain about having sleep problems when clearly it’s your own fault. I should probably follow Rosana’s advice and get myself a really nice reading chair and put it outside of the bedroom to reduce my problems of falling asleep. I’ll do that some day, I promise.

Happy bedtime reading! Speaking of which, it’s already 12:45 am…

Firefox for Android finally ready for prime time!

If you’ve tried Firefox for Android in the past and weren’t impressed, try again today. With a revamped interface built entire from scratch, it’s infinitely faster, renders websites beautifully, and supports Flash (for those who happen to like that).

Promotional Graphic (2)

Sync your mobile and desktop Firefox

If you’re using Firefox on your desktop computer, the first thing you will want to do is to set up Sync so you can synchronize bookmarks, passwords, form data and other settings across your devices. Simply follow the on-screen instructions or check out this step-by-step guide.

Already hungry for more? Get Aurora!

What if you’re already using Firefox and want to get a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the future? Then install Firefox Aurora and use that instead of plain Firefox! Aurora is an experimental branch of Firefox that represents what will eventually appear in a future Firefox release. So by using Aurora, you get to see what awesome things are coming up before mere mortals will benefit from them. They’re generally stable enough that you can use it without any major issues. Besides, if something does go wrong, you can always just switch back to normal Firefox again — you can keep both versions installed on both your computer and phone (though you can’t run them both at the same time, so Quit one before starting the other).

Keep in mind that by using Aurora, you are also encouraged to provide feedback about the experience. If you’re a bit more technical and used to filing bug reports, you can go straight to Bugzilla and submit your feedback that way.