World Cup Apps —Editors’ Picks

Scott DeVaney

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You’ve waited four years for this. Now it’s time to live/breathe/eat/sleep/sweat/scream football. Whether you plan to enjoy the games from home, or pack up your nation’s flag and travel to Brazil, Firefox Marketplace has a bunch of apps to help you make the most of your World Cup 2014 experience.

Editor’s note: If English ain’t your thing, this post has been lovingly localized in Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Dutch, Polish, French, Serbian, Greek, and Hungarian.

Streaming News, Scores & Highlights
Never miss a moment with apps specially designed to deliver breaking news, live scores, and alerts.

Available in more than a dozen languages, Goal.com is one of the most comprehensive football news apps available. Real-time scores, video highlights, and great social sharing capabilities top our list of favorite features.

Capp 2014 (available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) presents scores and news within a nifty, streamlined package. It also integrates travel info via Tripadvisor.

Football Fever delivers official tweets from FIFA—perfect for fans who don’t want to bother with a full Twitter setup just to follow FIFA info.

EU Match Center focuses exclusively on European clubs.

Football Games
What better way to get into the mood of the games than with a few games.

Real Soccer
Real Soccer is a full-field football experience. Choose your team based on different skill strengths and compete against the computer. Pass, shoot, control your goalkeeper—it’s all within your control.

Airfootball is the football version of air hockey. Simple and surprisingly challenging.

Soccer Fling combines football with addictive puzzle challenges.

Header Champ is a cartoonish romp that tests your header skills.

Speaking of headers, in Real Headshot you recreate Zinedine Zidane’s infamous head butt maneuver! See how many opponents you can thwart with “Zizou’s” forehead before time runs out. I think this game is actually a bit too difficult for its own good (I could never successfully land more than two head butts), but it’s just too hilarious not to include in this list.

Kekanto
Travel
For those fortunate enough to travel to Brazil, you can plan your complete trip—everything form airline to hotel and car reservations—with Kayak and Booking.com.

Kekanto helps you discover local hot spots, restaurants, clubs, and more. And you can get anywhere quickly and easily by hailing a cab with Easy Taxi.

Need some help with your Portuguese? Translator works in 50 languages.

Enjoy the World Cup, everyone—may your team emerge victorious!

Interested in learning more about Firefox OS devices and where you can find them? Here you go!

Join Us for Marketplace Day on May 8

Amy Tsay

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Whether you’re already a contributor to Marketplace or want to become one, please join us at the first Marketplace Day on Thursday, May 8! Marketplace Day is a regular online event that brings staff, volunteers, and potential volunteers together to complete tasks, mentor newcomers, and have fun.

There is something for everyone, no matter how technical you are or how much time you can commit. There will be contribution opportunities in design, development, QA, editorial, and more. We hope to see you there!

Join us here on May 8, and on irc.mozilla.org in the #Marketplace channel.

LINE Adds New Stickers & More

Scott DeVaney

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sticker_01LINE continues to add features and improve functionality for the Firefox OS version of its globally popular messaging app.

Performance-wise, LINE has been enhanced for speed and usage efficiency. This means all those insanely adorable stickers you can share with friends will arrive faster than ever before!

Speaking of stickers… LINE has added a bunch of new characters and designs to its catalog of free goodies. Better still, you can now easily gift stickers to your contacts. Who doesn’t enjoy receiving stickers of dancing bears in love?

sticker_02

Why Localization Is Important: The Word from Mañana

Jenny

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One of the handiest apps on Firefox Marketplace is even more useful because it’s available in multiple languages.

Mañana, which lets you save for tomorrow interesting articles you find but don’t have time to read today, is the first Firefox OS app from developer Alberto Granzotto and graphic designer Valentina Montagna. In fact, it’s their first app, period.

Mañana is available in English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Polish—with Russian and Greek on the way soon.

So why would first-time developers take the extra time and effort to localize an app?

“Considering that the emerging markets have been crucial for Firefox OS since the beginning, localizing the app in several languages has come naturally,” said Chiara Zecchetto, business development manager. “Don’t forget that one of the goals of Firefox OS, which we proudly support, is to guarantee internet access to as many people as possible.”

Mozilla allows developers to choose where their apps are available—something that can’t be said of all apps stores. (Read our post, “Geo-Targeting: Keeping Developers in the Driver’s Seat,” for more information.)

That choice is significant to the Mañana team.

“Openness, through localization, is important to let more people access the internet—so they can gain and share knowledge, culture, and life experience,” Chiara noted. “We also think that localizing a product, in this case one app or an entire marketplace, is really crucial in helping people familiarize themselves with new technology.”

Developing the app took about three weeks (not full time), from concept to delivery of the first version.

“We started it as a ‘hobby project’ to test the new Firefox OS and optimize languages we already know (HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript) for this new adventure,” Alberto explained.

In deciding which languages to focus on first, the team had specific goals in mind.

“We focused on the Firefox OS launches in Spain/LATAM, Italy, and Germany in late 2013,” Alberto said. “Then, we added languages following two criteria: potential Firefox OS markets, and languages that were quick to translate because of the international community that surrounds us.”

A note about translation work: Based in Berlin, the Mañana team found it easy to connect with enthusiastic Mozillians who supported them. But if you don’t have friends to help translate, you can still localize you apps, with Transifex. (Check out “App Localization with Transifex” on the Mozilla Developer Network. Mozilla’s Technical Evangelism team is piloting a program that uses Transifex for managing translation work, both for app developers and localizers.)

Useful resources for developers: While they created Mañana, the team put together this list of links and resources about creating apps for Firefox OS.

Integrating App Payments

Scott DeVaney

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money_imageToday we’re featuring a guest post from Andy McKay, Engineering Manager for Firefox Marketplace. He’s got some exciting news to share about setting up payments for your apps…

The Firefox Marketplace now accepts payments for apps and in-app payments. This allows developers to earn some money from their work.

Currently we’ve got just one payment provider who is integrated into Firefox Marketplace, the great team at Bango have been integrating credit card and carrier billing. But we don’t want to stop there, we’d like to have lots of options for different payment providers that meet the different consumers and developers needs.

Implementing payments for the Firefox Marketplace is a little different from any other site because, unlike most implementations, Mozilla does not look after holding money and paying developers, the payment providers do. This creates issues for payment providers who don’t normally operate this way.

To explain how we do things at Mozilla, we wanted to write a specification of how to integrate with the backend. But writing specifications is no fun, writing code is more fun. So we wrote a sample backend for payment providers, it’s called Zippy.

As it turns out writing Zippy gives us a bunch of other advantages:

* Tests can now be run on the entire payment flow from start to end without having to spend real money. This testing sandbox is something many payment providers do not provide.
* We have real HTML, JS and CSS for the payment pages so payment providers don’t need to implement it, just integrate our code.
* We can use the Mozilla localisation teams to provide localisations.
* Payment providers now have a working implementation they can poke and prod and examine.

Here’s an example of a payment using the Zippy backend, in French:

So if you are payment provider and wanted to integrate payments with the Marketplace, all you have to do is implement the Zippy API on your end in what ever language or platform you like. It’s not intended you’d ever use Zippy as is, rather implement the same REST APIs. We’ll need to enable you as a payment provider in the Marketplace, so you’ll want to speak to us before you start doing work on it.

The code is available under the MPL, is written in Node.js and is the hard work of David Larlet, Stuart Colville and Kumar McMillan. It is in the early days right now, at version 0.1 and I am sure there are lots of new features to come.

Great Utility Apps Lend a Helping Hand

Jenny

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The beauty of our mobile world is that we have so much useful information at our fingertips—and Firefox Marketplace is a great resource. Are you interested in photography? Travel? Music? No matter what your passion, you’re likely to find an app on Firefox Marketplace to help out. Below are just a few examples.

For Students of Music

There’s no need for music students to buy a metronome anymore; you can have one on your phone! Metronome is simple: Choose the number of beats per minute and the time signature. Toggle the sound on or off. You can also tap the beat you want and adjust the metronome that way.

Easy Chords can help aspiring guitarists, who have to memorize the finger positions for many chords. The screen displays a grid that represents the guitar strings and frets. Three buttons let you 1) choose the chord; 2) make it sharp or flat; and 3) change it to major, minor, or 7. And for bass guitar players, check out Bass Notes. You’ll be strumming away in no time!

Reading, Writing, Communicating

Mañana lets you save for tomorrow interesting articles you find but don’t have time to read today. Mark an article you’re interested in and add it to your home screen, so it’s easy to find when you have the time to read it. You can also tag and share articles with friends.

FireText (made just for Firefox OS) is a word processor with lots of great features. Formatting options include alignment, bold, italics, and strikethrough. You can also insert images, links, bullets/numbered lists, and tables.

Translator is a handy app for when you’re traveling—in person or around the web. It’s a quick and easy way to translate words and phrases to or from more than 60 languages, from Afrikaans and Basque to Welsh and Yiddish.

Taking Care of Business

FacturaPro is a cloud-based management system. It offers users a way to keep track of stock control, orders, invoices, payments, receipts, and more—all without having to download software.

Of course, your business might be photography. In that case, ShotClock, a sun angle calculator for outdoor photographers, is the app for you. Select your location and you’ll see a map with the angle displayed. You can calculate what the angle would be at different times of the day (with a slider) or a different date (with a calendar).

What are you interested in? Take a wander through Firefox Marketplace, and see what you discover.

 

(Photo credit: Giacomo Ritucci)

Building Community with Developers

Jenny

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Earlier this month, 34 participants from 11 countries* came together in our Paris office for a Mozilla Developer Network (MDN) “Work Weekend.” And work, they did—finishing 23 projects, touching 400+ bugs … and, bien sûr, enjoying a lot of great French food.

This kind of community teamwork—tackling everything from infrastructure and content to technical documentation—helps Mozilla thrive.

A Strong Developer Community

“Mozilla’s mission is to make sure that the web is accessible to everyone, and we see developers as our partners in accomplishing that,” says Stormy Peters, head of Developer Relations. “They create the content for the open web.”

Developers who make up the Mozilla community include open source and open web enthusiasts. The community creates resources for everyone; for example, MDN is a place to learn about the web and to get help.

“And for those who get more involved, our community provides an opportunity for recognition and a chance to teach—the same benefits you get from volunteering,” Stormy says.

Community Events

Mozilla’s engagement with the developer community happens at events around the world and takes many forms:

  • Mozilla staff and volunteers speak at industry events.
  • Mozilla’s Developer Relations team sponsors events to promote open source and open web technologies.
  • Mozilla hosts workshops to help app developers improve, finalize, and publish their apps on the open web, including Firefox Marketplace.
  • Community members host casual afternoon or evening events, typically with a guest speaker, to bring together web developers in same region.

… and then there are the work weekends, like the one that took place in Paris. Whether in-person or virtual, these get-togethers help Mozilla continue to promote the open web.

Check out this Wiki for the full list of what everyone accomplished in Paris—and Twitter for some of the comments from participants.

Get Involved!

Would you like to get involved? Click on the “Get Involved” link on the MDN website to join more than 3,400 other contributors. Learn how to make an open web app of your own—and check out some of the community’s great apps on Firefox Marketplace.

 

*France, USA, Canada, UK, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Germany, India, Bangladesh, and Brazil

(Photo credit: Kaustav Das Modak)

A Whole New Dating World

Jenny

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Around the globe, everyone has different ways of meeting people and dating. In some cultures, going out in couples is common; in others, young people tend to go out in groups; in still others, meeting a potential partner is arranged by your family. Word has it that the French don’t date at all—but that’s probably another story. You get the idea: Different parts of the world, different dating styles.

… and then came digital. Now, almost no matter where you are, you can meet and engage with others online and via apps. It’s a whole new dating world.

Will apps permanently change the way people date? It’s probably too early to tell—but they are being adopted around the globe—and in some countries, at least, adapted to suit the culture.

Different Cultures, Different Apps

Globally, the mobile dating market is expected to be worth $2.3 billion by 2016, up from $1 billion in 2011. The most popular apps vary by country. (See stats on Zoosk and Badoo, below, for example.)

A study by Ericsson covering Russia, India, and Brazil found that 6 percent of respondents used dating apps daily.

One in 10 Americans has used an online dating site or mobile dating app themselves, and 7 percent of mobile phone app users (representing 3 percent of all adults) report having used a dating app on their mobile phone (according to Pew Research).

“Thrill,” a dating app that debuted in India in 2013, addresses concerns in that country. In a Times of India article, Malini Agarwal, blogger and founder of social group Friday Club, said, “There is also the feeling that you have to be extra careful, especially when you hear horror stories of rape and attacks. […] Thrill’s ‘he applies she decides’ approach enables women to choose the men they want in.”

In a post about Momo, a popular Chinese dating app, the MobiSights blog commented on dating apps and Chinese culture: “It is common for people to prefer this way of meeting others, as cultural norms make indirect contact more comfortable in Asian cultures.”

Marketplace Apps

Has all this talk of dating apps whetted your appetite? Check out some of the dating apps on Firefox Marketplace:

  • Zoosk is used by more than 25 million people worldwide. It’s among the top dating apps in North America and in Europe.*
  • Duego is available in 180 countries. It’s location-based, to help you meet new people around you.
  • Badoo has more than 180 million users. It’s among the top dating apps in Europe, Brazil, and Eurasia.*

No word on how popular these are in France.

 

*Source

 

Anywhere, Anytime Music

Jenny

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Today, most people use their phones for much more than talking. We text, use email, surf the internet, download apps—and listen to music. If you take advantage of your phone to enjoy music—or if you’d like to—Firefox Marketplace can help. It has some great apps that will add a little music to your day.

 

World radio

How great is it that you can tune in to radio stations from around the world—all from the comfort of, well, wherever you are?

InternetRadio logoYou can scroll through a list of music genres on InternetRadio or tap the genre bar at the top and search. (Tapping that bar also gives you the option of marking favorites.) Although you search by genre rather than geography, there are two easy ways to find an international mix: First, one of the genres is “International.” I found great guitar music from “RadioPortugal” there. Second, scan the choices under each genre. I found “colombiaromantica” under 80s music and “FolkRadioUK” under—wait for it—Folk music.

World Radio Player logoIn World Radio Player you also search by genre, each of which offers individual radio channels. You’ll see the name of the station and (in some cases) where it’s from. Some of the categories take some investigating (e.g., “Radio” and “Various”), but it’s fun to scroll through those to discover what’s hiding there. For example, under “Hits,” I found French ballads on “Radio Douce France.”

Radio Paradise logoWith Radio Paradise, there’s no scrolling through genres; it chooses the music for you. There’s nothing to do but listen to music. Don’t worry, it has good taste! On my most recent visit, Patti Smith, Zero 7, and Roseanne Cash were first up.

Free music

Of course, radio isn’t the only way to find music. Here are a few more music-related apps:

SoundCloud logoSoundCloud is one of the best-known music apps around. It offers you lists of new music to explore, and you can search for favorites (anywhere or by tracks, playlists, people, or groups). You can “like” music to find it easily later, and you can share music with friends on social media.

8tracks logo8tracks offers a choice of Featured, Hot, and Popular playlists.  Pick one, and scroll through a list of mixes. Each has an image, a title, and tags. Under Hot, I chose “Ah, the rain stopped,” which is tagged as techno, pop, jpop, indie, and feelgood. “PCH before 9” is tagged as California, morning, and good vibes. You have to log in to “like” lists, but then you can build your own fav lists. You can share mixes you like on FB and Twitter without logging in.

Hype Machine logoHype Machine says, “Every day, thousands of people around the world write about music they love—and it all ends up here.” Use this app to see what’s most popular on blogs right now. You can search by genres (dance, electronic, house, pop, rock, etc.) See who posted the song, and follow the links to buy any music that interests you.

SoundTrip logoSoundTrip is all about using music—sounds, really—to relax. When you open the app, you’re greeted with the sound of falling rain. How much more relaxing does it get? There are 12 looping sounds to choose from, including frogs, insects, waves, a river, and even a Roman café!

 

$25 Smartphone? Great Feedback from Mobile World Congress

Jenny

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“Long-awaited”; “impressive;” “extremely disruptive”: These are just some of the comments we’re hearing in the wake of Mozilla’s recent announcement that we are enabling a whole new category of smartphone, priced around $25.

Mozilla—like most of the rest of the world, it seems—has been at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week. As MWC kicked off, Mozilla made some big announcements, including this one. Below, we share some of the great news coverage it is receiving.

CIO today quotes Forrester analyst Ted Schadler describing the announcement as a “long-awaited move” that will put pressure on such phone makers as Nokia.

VentureBeat quotes Avi Greengart, an analyst with Current Analysis, that the $25 Firefox OS phone “could be extremely disruptive.”

In a CNET review, Stephen Shankland says, “I toyed with a prototype Sunday at its debut at Mobile World Congress here, and I have to say, I’m impressed–given the price.” He also points out, “It’s not something a rich kid from New Jersey or a businessman from Tokyo would be caught dead with.”

At Mozilla, we’re OK with that, because as Shankland goes on to say, “That’s not the target market.” … “Mozilla, reasonably, tells those who would judge this Firefox OS model that they should compare it to a bargain-bin feature phone with a few built-in apps and a low-end camera.” … “And for that market, it really works.”

Redefining the Entry Level for Smartphones

Many comment on the fact that Mozilla is redefining the entry level for smartphones in key growth markets.

Geek.com says, “There are hundreds of millions of people all over the world who would love to have both a phone and a device that can access the internet, but can’t justify the cost. $25 Firefox phones could be exactly what they’ve been waiting for.”

Ubergizmo makes a similar point: “After all, if you’re shopping on a budget, the last thing on your mind would be whether or not your phone comes with biometric security features, right? In fact the goal of these smartphones is to get people to stop using feature phones and to start using smartphones, particularly that of Mozilla’s own making.”

A Pretty Great Package

So while these phones may not have biometric security features, observers recognize that the overall Firefox package is pretty appealing.

Forbes quotes analyst Rob Enderle of The Enderle Group: “Twenty-five dollars could well be affordable to businesses [in developing markets], not to mention consumers, and that–price–is the filter through which they will make their decision about getting a phone.”

Forbes then adds, “But they are getting more than just a phone. Along with Firefox OS come Firefox Marketplace and an adaptive app search that Mozilla has developed.”

At Firefox Marketplace, we couldn’t agree more.