I’ve dogfooded Firefox OS since its early beginnings and have some of the early hardware (hamachi, unagi, One Touch Fire, ZTE Open, Geeksphone Keon, Flame and ZTE Open C). It was good to hear some of the plans for Firefox OS 2.5 that were discussed at Whistler, but I wanted to take the time and model of this post and remix it for Firefox OS. Firefox OS you are great and free but you are not perfect and you can be the mobile OS that I need.
#1 Voice Control
Just like Apple has Siri and Google has Ok Google, Firefox OS too needs a voice command system that will let me search the web, send a text, open apps, navigate to places. Not only is this good for a smartphone, but when I buy a TV running Firefox OS, voice commands will be very useful.
Let’s face it: notifications on Firefox OS are not a world class experience. Most of the big apps (Facebook, Twitter etc) do not integrate with Firefox OS so when someone messages you or tags you in a photo, you won’t know unless you open the app. There is a bug for this to fix this in Facebook app but the developer left Facebook so it got abandoned. There was never any progress on this for Twitter. In order for Firefox OS to be able to be sustainable and see good adoption, people will need to have notifications this is not negotiable.
While Firefox OS has never shipped in the U.S. yet plenty of Firefox OS developers do live here and so do a good portion of Mozilla Developers. LTE needs to be supported in the stack but also needs to be a requirement for reference devices going forward in the Foxfooding program.
#4 App Ecosystem
There is much talk about how Mozilla is going to invest big into Firefox OS and that is great and very exciting but one of the biggest things Mozilla could invest in for Firefox OS that would increase adoption is expanding the app ecosystem. Without apps, a platform fails and this is obvious. Right now as things stand, even Ubuntu Phone is ahead of Firefox OS in the app ecosystem race. If Mozilla has to pay companies to port their apps to Firefox OS, well that would be a good investment because random low-quality apps are not going to fill the gap.
#5 U2F (Universal 2nd Factor)
I believe Fido Alliance’s U2F is the future of strong authentication on the desktop and mobile so it would be nice to see support for this.
#6 Local / Contextual Results
Firefox OS needs to have a foot in the producing local results game since Firefox OS does not have an equivalent of Google Now or a Yelp app. I need something to help me find local businesses and places and ratings. This should be a smart feature that uses my actual location.
We need a WeatherUnderground App or something really slick that delivers the most accurate weather forecasting available.
We need a transit app, not a bunch of local ones that can use my location and tell me available transit options like when trains and buses arrive. The data is out there and most of it is open so let’s build this into the OS or maybe Mozilla should make an app for that.
#9 Better OEM Update Expectations
The updates offered by OEM partners has been deplorable mostly with many devices left behind on versions which leaves users with bugs and stability issues. Mozilla should set the bar high and take OEM’s out of the updates equation much like Ubuntu has done with their Mobile OS. OEM’s cannot be trusted to give regular OS updates and when they don’t the reputation of the platform is blamed for this not the OEM.
#10 Uber or Lyft
Firefox OS will need a Uber or Lyft app to get any kind of non-niche foothold in more westernized countries. I don’t really care if Uber or Lyft is offered as both will work. Uber already allows booking through their website so perhaps a little nudge could get them to package that into an app.
This summarizes ten things I would love to see happen for Firefox OS not all are hard requirements for me but consider this a wish list. Do you have a wish list of 10 things you want in Firefox OS? If so I encourage you to blog about it and dream big!