February Challenge: Switch to a Cherry Mobile Windows Phone

In the years, i’ve been switching to different mobile platforms from iOS to BlackBerry 10 and to Android, and i think Android has a great impact to me on my everyday lifestyle.

The former company for where i worked for as an intern mostly relies on Android, and believe it or not, my internship made me curious about the Android platform and has made me decided to make a jump to Android after my internship has ended.

But since i like jumping around to different mobile platforms and discovering cool new stuff on it, i think i’ll be switching to Windows Phone, even just for a month.

Sounds simple, right? But actually, it will be really  hard for me to move away from Android since most of the useful devices that accompanying my phone relies on Android.

I’ll loose the following devices once i made the switch:

Android Wear – A device where you have to charge it for every 2 days, but you can get notifications in a flash without looking at your phone. And that’s okay, for now. Since the technology is new. And it’s the only device you’ll be with for most of the time. It only works on the Android platform.

Cherry Mobile P1 – If you don’t like to use your smartphone on the streets, you can use this phone as a proxy. It’s really useful if you just want to answer important sms and calls on the go.

Of course, that’s just a frost on the cake. I’ll also lose some apps. But i’m willing to find some alternatives.

On March 05 2015, i will write a blog post about my experience. I’ll be using the Cherry Mobile Alpha Luxe as my primary smartphone for a month. I’ve tried a Windows Phone before, but things are different now. Windows Phone has greatly improved and i’m really excited to try new things on this platform.

So, wish me luck. :)

On old Android phones and Firefox OS

Yesterday, i bought an old Google Nexus S and it’s a phone that runs on Android 4.1.2, it’s probably the last phone update it can get from Google’s Android and once i got my hands on it, i took my USB cable out and downloaded the latest Firefox OS builds you can get from the XDA website and flashed it with Firefox OS.

After a few minutes of patience, i saw the potential of the device. The phone runs Firefox OS 2.2. Since it’s the same version that you can get on a Firefox Flame, it also has the privacy panel app that you can use to locate your device, although i haven’t fully explored it yet. It’s pretty slick, and it always amaze me that this 2010 phone can run the very best of Firefox OS.

You can get a mid-tier phone experience from a low end hardware. In my case, i only bought the phone for less than 70 USD and performance wise, it’s almost the same with the Flame. And it always amaze me that software plays a big role on a smartphone device. Who would have thought that you can make an obsolete phone awesome again with a new Operating System?

The future of Firefox OS is exciting! I’m really hoping that OEMs will manufacture more mid-tier phones that feels like a premium device when you use it. I believe a LOT of people are willing to buy it, specially in today’s market where a LOT of affordable high end Android devices are fighting together to win the low and mid market.

Can Firefox OS change the way we use smartphones? Maybe. But it has already made an impact to thousands of early adopters worldwide and gave breath to devices that has run out of updates.

Cherry Mobile Ace FAQs and Hacks

It has been a while since the Cherry Mobile Ace User Groups has been established on Facebook and the group is growing day by day from consumers to app developers who owns, will own or just a fan of the Cherry Mobile Ace.

Cherry Mobile Ace is a new device and no doubt that consumers who are trying out the platform will have some questions about the device. But since these questions are usually being asked everytime, i have collected most of the Q’s here and i will do my best to answer it straightforward and clear.

If you think there is a lack of clarity in my answers, feel free to drop it in the comments section. Without further ado, here is the list of Cherry Mobile Ace FAQs:

“Is Cherry Mobile Ace an Android device?”

Answer: No, it’s not. It runs on Firefox OS 1.3T

“Can i update my device to Firefox OS 2.0?”

Answer: Not yet. Firefox  OS 1.3 is the current stable release of Firefox at the time of this writing.

Firefox OS 2.0 is currently being offered to developer devices and it’s not ready for prime time just yet. Same goes to Firefox OS 1.4, 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2.

“What are the APN settings for Firefox OS? I want to connect to the Internet!”

Answer: More here http://www.yugatech.com/apn-settings-for-globe-smart-sun-cellular/

“Will Clash of Clans or any other Android games will run on my Cherry Mobile Ace?”

Answer: It depends. Not all Android games can run in Firefox OS, true.  BUT some of the most popular game publishers and content providers are porting their games to Firefox OS. To name a few, you can play: Cut the Rope (By ZeptoLab) , Fix-It-Felix (By Disney) and among others.

If you want your favorite app to be ported in Firefox OS, why not give the developer a shout out and ask them to port it? (But ask gently, of course. ;) )

“Can i root my Firefox OS device?”

Answer: No.

“Can i install apps through an .APK on my phone?”

Answer: Nope. Only Android can read and install APK files. Firefox doesn’t have a file extension.

Here’s why: With Firefox OS, you can literally install a website on the go by visiting a website that supports Firefox OS app install feature.

So imagine you’re visiting your favorite website and it will offer you to install it in your phone. Imagine the time saved from opening the Marketplace to searching the app you want and tapping the download button.

“How do you take a screenshot on this device?”

Answer: Hold the POWER BUTTON + Home button (The circular button at lower part of the phone) at the same time.

“Why is it that my phone takes me to the future (or past) by giving me the wrong date?”

Answer: This happens everytime your device has been turned off. And the “Set automatically” option usually doesn’t work if your telco doesn’t support it.

To solve this, set the time manually and turn off the automatic time adjustment feature.

“I’m getting SMS or call notification even though i have seen it before”

Answer: Related to the former question, it has something to do with the time adjusting itself automatically when you turn off your device. Make sure to set the time manually and try again.

“I want to develop apps on my Phone”

Answer: Visit https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Apps/Quickstart/Build/Your_first_app

“I’m developing an app and my computer can’t find my phone”

Answer: Please check this guide: http://www.stramaxon.com/2014/10/debug-intex-cloudfx-firefoxos.html

And…

“I’m having issues with my device.”

Answer: Please contact Cherry Mobile Customer Support. Visit https://www.facebook.com/cherrymobilecustomersolutions

ChikkaFOX – The Chikka SMS API Simulator in Firefox OS

ChikkaFOX

I’ve been playing around recently with the Chikka SMS API and i’m amazed on how easy it is to integrate the API on your existing apps or try the API by creating a small app that would simulate it. That is exactly what i did with ChikkaFox.

ChikkaFox is an open source app in Firefox OS that would let you send SMS to any mobile phone number.

All you need to do is to add your api info into the following variables in main.js:

var sCode = “”; // Short code
var cID = “”; // Client ID

var sKey = “” // Secret Key

To test the app, you have to format a mobile number by adding: +639XXXXXXXXX.

Message ID is used to track a request status. You can put any numbers you like for testing. (Example: 01)

The great thing about the Chikka SMS API is that you can buy airtime credits using your SMART Prepaid load and the minimum package you can avail is only 100 pesos (Up to 250 SMS). Talk about convenience and affordability.

Next chapters ahead

Just last week, i have finally signed my contract with Cherry Mobile. And i’ll be working at Cosmic Digital Universe, their associte company for all things digital solutions! (We are still hiring!)

History made me

Since 2011, all of my efforst are being poured into deep research about how mobile works and since then i always wanted to focus on creating cool stuff on the device you can actually lift.

It has been almost 3 years since i began developing apps on mobile, even if i was a college student back then, i have at least created up to 10 apps from top mobile platforms. I’ve been also busy in the past few years promoting and helping student developers for all things app development.

Why Cherry Mobile?

My passion for mobile never stops in college. I’m always interested with mobile. In fact, i have spend my internship with SMART Communications Inc and i learned a LOT! And i also believe that i can grow with a company that ships affordable consumer phones to the filipino market. I know, i can learn a lot with Cherry Mobile.

What’s next?

From time to time, i can still blog and tweet. I’ll be busy more than ever, but i won’t give up from where i have started. I’m also sticking with Mozilla as a Non-paid volunteer and might help you out if you have any questions with Firefox OS App Development. (You can join our local dev group here.)

And of couse, expect Cherry Mobile stuff on my blog. =)

I’m pretty much excited with what life can offer me together with Cherry. =)

Tren 1.1 for Android has been released!

 

It’s just 10 days after tren has been first released on Google Play, from the start we promise to deliver relevant features to our consumers by bringing innovation on the table and better refinements to the app experience. Now, enough chit chats!

What’s new in TREN 1.1 for Android?

  • TREN Alerts (BETA): We’re launching Tren Alerts. Get the latest news and scoop from us via “Push Notification” so you can get the up-to-date announcements from LRT/MRT and PNR. How cool is that? ;)
  • Simplified User Interface: We’ve made some minor U.I changes. We’ve added a new tab for the “About” section.
  • Better performance: 20% faster than before. It’s a huge performance deal breaker here.

I hope you’ll like this new version. If you’ve seen some bugs, you can e-mail me at: thetrenapp@gmail.com

Like TREN on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/trenapp

Follow Tren on Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/usetren

Join our TREN Commuter Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/trenph/

Tren: Behind the scenes

I want to talk about “Behind the scenes” of Tren, my newest app that you can download for free on Google Play, Windows Phone Marketplace and Firefox Marketplace.

When did you started developing Tren?

Tren is a weekend app. I started planning and coding the mock-ups on March 28 2014 (Friday). Worked really hard on each feature on March 29-30 (Saturday and Sunday) and sunday night, i already have the alpha app for testing. My friends are my guinea pigs (and i love them, truly they have an eye for quality). And on Monday, i have been busy testing the BETA app for release. Making sure that the app won’t crash on my device, and won’t make my testers unhappy.

And on April 1 2014, tren has finally launched in Google Play. It’s a living proof that April Fools Day is not only just for pranks. :P

Why did you focused on developing Tren?

I have a LOT of app ideas in my mind. But these ideas are needed to be cultured, it needs to be planned. A perfect way to launch an app is timing and research. I think it’s the best time to launch a train guide to serve better my fellow countrymen and the fact that  the growing need for info app focusing on public transportation is becoming a necessity.

Why is the CCTV feature NOT built-in on the app?

I’ve been getting the same question right before i’ve launched the app. It’s simply because it’s MRT’s property. I don’t like the idea of serving a feature and have to sneak on their system just to make that feature work. I respect the whole organization. But if ever they would offer an API access for third party developers, like me. I’ll be more willing to cooperate.

Are you seeking partnership?

Yes. Specially if the offer would really benefit the users. If you have a proposal, you can E-mail me instead.

Is Tren really FREE? How do you earn?

Tren will always be FREE to use. I’ll earn through Google’s Ads. I’ll use the money to buy me some coffee. Or a small meal when i’m hungry coding.

Why is iOS not supported from Day 1?

Technical stuff. But hopefully, i would launch an “Up-to-date” version of the app at the end of the year.

That’s it! I hope you liked reading this behind the scene post. I’d like to thank a good friend Bea Fel, My mom, My Uncle and all of my friends who helped and supported my app. I appreciate all of your efforts! You guys are awesome!

Introducing Tren: Your guide to manila transit

What was your first train trip felt like?

We all have this first train trip experience. I bet before your first trip was all excitement and expectations. Everyone does. But it all goes down to the frequently asked questions before that awesome experience. And possibly, you may have asked these questions yourself:

What are the next few stations before we reach our destination?

How much would a single journey ticket cost?

I’ve been riding different train stations everyday for the last 5 years and i’m still asking some of those questions. Not until, i made Tren.

I’m a commuter myself. I love riding the train! And i want an app that would help me with my ride. I want instant answers when i needed the most. So that’s the main reason i started tren in the first place.

What can Tren do for me?

Tren was created for commuters like YOU and ME. It was crafted to answer quickly. We don’t usually ask train questions, but when the time we needed to. That’s when we needed the answers FAST.

From the planning stage, i want tren to…

  • List the stations on a certain train line (LRT 1 & 2, MRT 3 and PNR)
  • List the daily operation schedule of each train line
  • Solve the train metric fare for you
  • Some train reminders
  • …and contact information from every train line you ride.

And i’ve also included a link from the official CCTV  of MRT-3, so you can take a peak at the current condition of a station before you take a ride. Pretty sweat, right? :)

And most of all, this app is FREE. Free to use, feel free to love. Share the good news to your friends and family who are also commuting via train!

What’s next for Tren?

Tren doesn’t stop at this version. It’s a continuous work. I’ve made a solid roadmap for the app and looking forward for the right steps ahead. But for now, you can always count on tren. :)

TREN is available for download at these platforms:

Tren for Android

Tren for Windows Phone 8

Tren for Firefox Marketplace

Tren for iOS is currently in the works and will be released soon.

If you liked it, don’t forget to rate it. If you need technical support or if you want to suggest a feature, kindly email us at: thetrenapp[at]gmail[dot]com.

Attend the Firefox Automation Training Days online!

If you’re interested in testing software and writing code to test code on Firefox, the Mozilla QA Team is organizing a two day online automations training! For FREE!

All you need is a stable internet connection, a browser (Well, don’t be shy to use Firefox!) to attend the training.

You can check out the Public Etherpad for useful resources online, join the video conference on Vidyo, and join the others on IRC (If you don’t know how to install IRC, you can check it out how here) #automation channel.

This is an awesome opportunity if you want to contribute to Mozilla. Help test software, report bugs and make Firefox more awesome!

See you at the Automations training!

486 hours at Voyager Innovations Inc

It was one of those normal days when i was just actually waiting for a company who are interested to hire me for an internship. Then someone called me on my mobile phone, and it was from Smart’s H.R. She told me that they are inviting me for an interview somewhere at Ortigas, and without further ado, i’ve accepted the offer!

“The Interview”

Then the day came from my interview, i still remember the place where i will be deployed. It’s at Voyager Innovations Inc. The same venue where Smart held their AngelHack event last year, where Mozilla Philippines Community is also a local partner for the said event and i was a “Mentor” back then.

The interview lasted for less than 15 minutes, and got an e-mail from SMART saying that i have been accepted as intern in less than 35 minutes after the said interview. So it was that fast and i think it was one of the most epic interviews i had.

“A new beginning”

When i entered Voyager, they are already working on a weather application that will be dealing with the chance of rain. I was assigned to test the said app and i was lucky enough to see it progress because i was testing the early “Alpha” versions. I was really excited to the job, i had no background of testing apps in a formal way and got the whole process after i have filled a few bugs.

I’ve also attended a product launch. It was that awesome that your work is beginning to unfold in the media that then will be broadcasted to millions of filipinos not only in the country, but worldwide.

And i couldn’t imagine more that the apps that has gone before the consumers are being tested on my hands, and it’s truly an awesome job if you think about it.

I was so inspired by my job that i even wrote this blogpost. lol

“Moving forward”

It was an awesome experience working with Voyager Innovations Inc! I learned so many things that will be helpful in the real world. In just 3 months! :)

I’d want to thank the people who mentored me during my internship, and to my co-interns. You are all awesome!

I’m glad to be part of a company that works together and shares a common vision. :)