Overlay Firefox OS On Your Android Device
As many of you may know, Mozilla also has their own operating system for mobile devices known as Firefox OS. Thanks to Mozilla developer Fabrice Desré, you can now try the Firefox OS experience without flashing a ROM or removing Android by installing B2GDroid.
The concept of the app is quite simple, set it as your default launcher and you will see an almost full Firefox OS experience, including: launcher, notification drawer, lock screen and settings. It doesn’t completely replace your ROM, but if you were considering buying a phone with Firefox OS or making the switch this is a good way to find out what to expect.
The app does include some of the Firefox OS apps, which are the apps you’d find included with the complete OS such as messaging, contacts, calendar, and its app store. Unfortunately some elements such as the notification drawer tend to conflict with Android’s own and at the these times you will likely be booted back to your old launcher whilst Firefox compiles an error report. As Firefox OS is not intended to work like this, you will find performance to be very poor and the stability is borderline unusable.
I spent a few hours trialing the software on my Android phone today. Whilst I attempted to not leave B2GDroid (This version is called “Fennec Fabrice”), the frequent crashes made this difficult and I was booted back to Nova Launcher frequently. Apart from these brief moments of respite I successfully kept to the app for close to 6 hours. You can see my first few moments with the app, exploring and habituating to the UI below.
Whilst I tried to enjoy my experience, it was made very hard. Several of the key features are inoperable when running on Android, the back key appears to be non functional and the home key brings up the recent apps menu which only appears to be capable of holding one app at a time. The UI makes everything incredibly large and you do get the feeling that you are using Firefox OS for the visually impaired.
That being said it is still in the early stages of development, several of us in the portal team tried it out and we each had very different experiences. I remain hopeful for the future of the app, with time and effort this could become a real benefit to people considering an alternative to Android.
If you would like to try out the app for yourself, head over to here and then select the app as your default launcher.
Have you tried the app, how did it perform? Leave a comment below!