This a review about Firefox OS written by Ish Sookun, a member of the Mauritius Internet User Group, A Linux and ICT professional.

Ish Sookun

During the weekly Mauritius Internet Users (MIU) Skype meeting, Sandraghassen Pillai (Ganesh) presented Firefox OS and told us about the local group of Mozilla. Ganesh reveals that he’s a Mozillian, a term used for advocates of Mozilla. This reminded me of the Geckos of openSUSE…

During the meeting we discussed Firefox OS testing in Mauritius – the only device currently available on the market is Orange Klif. Among friends, no one had it, and we concluded it would be best to test it using the Firefox OS simulator… but we must admit – it kind of spoiled the fun a little…

The week that we had the Firefox OS discussion on MIU, the National Computer Board hosted Infotech 2015. I knew Orange had a stand and thought maybe I could hop in to try the Orange Klif there. Unfortunately, mobile sales at the Orange stand drew in a huge crowd, as expected, so that left very little space for me to interact with others who wanted to learn more about the Orange Klif and Firefox OS.
Then, on the 6th October, I saw Orange Mauritius tweeting about mobile sales in the Orange stores. I enquired about Firefox OS through a tweet-reply and to my surprise Orange said they could lend me an Orange Klif to test!

User review - Mauritius 1

The Orange Klif falls in the category of low-spec smartphones and generally that is something that would not be trendy for the young folks. However, the Orange Klif could be a nice experimental gadget at the hands of a mobile app developer and it comes for just Rs 1499. Is the investment worth it? Let’s see…

Specifications
Weighing just 98 grams the Orange Klif is a lightweight smartphone. It comes with a Dual Core processor at 1.0 Ghz, 256M RAM and 512M internal memory. The display has a resolution of 320 x 480 pixels and a rear camera at 2.0 megapixels. Unfortunately, there is no front camera.
For connectivity, there is WiFi (tethering is possible), bluetooth, mobile data (uses 3G) and contrary to what is published on orange.mu, the Klif does have GPS.

Firefox OS
Now, let’s take a look at what Firefox OS brings. The Klif is shipped with Firefox OS 2.0 and is bundled with apps for the camera, file management, text messaging, social networks (Twitter & Facebook), radio etc. For internet surfing Mozilla’s Firefox is there by default.
There is an app called “Ludigames” that opens up a box of 50+ free HTML5 games. However, that’s not something I seek. I fired up the Firefox Marketplace and searched for “terminal”, but sadly nothing was found. I use my mobile a lot to connect to the internet and have SSH connections. A terminal is the first thing I install on an Android-based mobile phone and I was a bit disappointed that the “terminal app” was missed out from the Marketplace on a Linux-based mobile operating system.

Firefox OS 2.5_1

Twitter experience
I then looked for other applications that I use the most. Instagram comes next in the list; sadly, there is no official Instagram app in the Firefox Marketplace. I tried the Twitter app while on WiFi. It’s sleek and works pretty fine for a low-spec phone – that is where I was impressed actually. I have previously used the Twitter app on a low-spec phone (with 256M RAM) and it was not as fluid.

Twitter on KLIF

Orange Klif phone call quality
I tried out the phone call experience, and I would rate the quality at 8/10. Though the network icon showed only one bar, the voice wasn’t choppy – something I usually notice in other mobile phones. The overall voice quality though was clear, it sounded like it was in a compact area. I would not attribute that to the network.

Conclusion
Orange Klif does not fit my day-to-day needs due to the low-spec and lack of apps. However, it could be a useful tool for mobile app developers to challenge themselves to develop for low resource devices. As it happened, Micah Gorell developed this tiny Twitter app called Macaw which is just 829KB.
My interest in Firefox OS remains firm though and I would certainly like to explore more about it on a high-end smartphone, when it’s available in Mauritius.
That’s all for now, but I look out for my next article in the coming days, where I’ll be speaking more on the topic of the Firefox OS.

Author: Ish Sookun

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