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Updates on your Flame: We encourage you to join the following mailing list to receive periodic updates on software builds and other news affecting your Flame device: https://mail.mozilla.org/listinfo/flamenews

A picture of the Flame device, showing the Firefox OS homescreen containing several app icons.

Available to order

The Flame developer reference phone is a milestone in Firefox OS device releases. The Flame hardware offers a representative set of specs — including FWVGA display and dual-core processor — to help developers build great content and experiences. A single hardware platform is also good for testers, making it easier to test and address specific software issues without having to worry about device model-specific bugs, etc.

If you have your phone in hand and want to start playing with it, developing and distributing apps, or contributing to the Firefox platform, the following links will get you where you need to go:

  • Firefox OS zone: For creating your own Firefox OS builds and contributing to the B2G and Gaia projects.
  • App Center zone: For building open web apps compatible with Firefox OS.
  • Marketplace zone: For information on publishing and distributing apps.
  • Firefox Marketplace: The best place to find and publish new Firefox OS apps.

If you’d like to find out more about updating the operating system, recovering it, pushing apps to it, or phone specs, you’ll find the information you need below.

Purchasing a device

Our device manufacturer partner has made the device available to order on everbuying.com, for US$170 including global shipping (device cost is $145, shipping is $25 and custom fees may still apply, depending on the destination country). The device is bootloader- and carrier-unlocked, and it utilizes a quad-band GSM+UMTS radio so that it can work with a wide variety of operators/carriers.

Important steps to follow first

There are a couple of steps you should make sure you follow for your particular operating system, before you start trying to update your device, for example by updating your Flame's version of Firefox OS, or pushing apps to your phone (both are covered below.)

All operating systems

You need to install ADB and Fastboot on your computer — these are applications that allow you to interact with your phone from your computer when the two are connected via the phone's USB charger cable. They are needed for Flashing your phone to a new version of Firefox OS, recovering from an unresponsive state, pushing apps to your phone, etc.

Note: If you are on Ubuntu you can install ADB and Fastboot simply by using sudo apt-get install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot on the command line.

ADB and Fastboot are available in the Android Developer Toolkit:

  1. Go to the above link.
  2. Press the Download Eclipse ADT button.
  3. Agree to the license conditions.
  4. Choose between the 32-bit and 64-bit version (32-bit will do if you are not sure).
  5. Click the final Download Eclipse ADT with the Android SDK... button.
  6. Once the download is complete, unzip the zip file's contents onto your computer's desktop.
  7. The folder name is a bit complicated; rename it to just adt.

ADB is a tool that you run from the command line. If you open your terminal/command prompt, go to adt/sdk/platform-tools and run the adb command, you should see a load of information thrown back at you about what you can do with ADB. Running adb devices should return the line List of devices attached, and nothing else, because you haven't got any devices attached yet.

But at this point, you need to set the PATH variable to point to the ADB tool, so you can run it from anywhere, not just when you are in the exact directory that ADB is in.

To do this on Windows 8 (Windows 7 will be very similar, but with slightly different menu options):

  • Right click on the Windows button in the bottom left and select Control Panel > System and Security > System > Advanced System settings > Environment Variables.
  • In the System variables list, find the one called Path, select it, then click Edit...
  • In the Variable value text field of the resulting dialog box, make sure you are at the end of the big string of characters in the box, then type a semi colon (;), followed by the location of the adb tool on your system, which should be C:\Users\[YOUR USER NAME]\Desktop\adt\sdk\platform-tools.

    So if your user name is jamessmith, you would enter ;C:\Users\jamessmith\Desktop\adt\sdk\platform-tools.
  • Press OK on all the dialog boxes you opened up in this section.
  • Close your command prompt, open a new one, and test it by typing adb devices. If it comes up with List of devices attached, you are successful!

On Mac/Linux:

  • In the Finder app, go to your home folder (the one with the house icon.)
  • If you can't already see hidden files (for example, system files with dots (.) at the beginning), go to Terminal and enter the command defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES, then restart Finder.
  • Open your .bash_profile or .bashrc file in a plain text editor like Text Wrangler or Sublime Text (it needs to be a plain text editor.)
  • Inside the file, add a new line PATH=/Users/[YOUR USER NAME]/Desktop/adt/sdk/platform-tools:$PATH
  • Save and close the file.
  • Restart your terminal, and test it by typing adb devices. If it comes up with List of devices attached, you are successful!

Extra steps for Linux and Mac

No additional steps should be required if you are using a Linux or Mac system, although depending on your Linux distro, you might need to add a udev rule for your phone.

The udev rule for the Flame should look something like the following:

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="05c6", ATTRS{idProduct}=="9025", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"

Make sure to --reload-rules, then unplug and replug and your device before continuing.

Extra steps for Windows

To access the Flame device with the ADB and Mozilla dev tools like App Manager/WebIDE, a USB driver is required. Follow the steps outlined in the below sections to install it.

Downloading the driver

Download the Windows driver from this location. Once downloaded, extract the contents of the ZIP file to a suitable place on your hard drive.

Note: The Android Debug Bridge (ADB) must be installed first: see instructions above if you've not already done this.

Installing the USB Driver

At this point, connect your Flame device to your computer using a USB cable.

To install the driver, open the Alcatel_USB_Driver_Q_4.0.0_2013_11_11_noinstall directory within the extracted ZIP file and double click on the DriverInstaller.exe executable. You may receive a warning at this point that the executable is from an unknown publisher. If so, select the Yes button and the executable will be launched.

Simple dialog box showing a picture of a phone along with install and uninstall buttons.

Click on the Install button to install the driver.

After the driver installs, you can check that it is working by opening a command line window and typing adb devices. This should list the connected device with an output something like:

List of devices attached
3561d02a          device

If your device is not showing up here, check in the Windows Device Manager. Your Flame may be showing up as "ACER ADB Interface". You can confirm this by unplugging the device and seeing if it disappears from the device manager. Uninstall the driver software by right-clicking on "ACER ADB Interface" and clicking uninstall.  Be sure to check the box in the dialog to delete the driver software.  Now re-run the installer above. It is advisable to set the screen timeout on your Flame to something high (Settings > Display > Screen timeout) as Windows sometimes appears to reinstall the default drivers when the screen turns off.

Updating your Flame's software

We will have two main "channels" of Firefox OS software version releases for the Flame phone:

  • The first channel is our release channel. Flames ship with this channel and will receive over-the-air updates for future major versions, that is, Flames will update from 1.3 to 2.0 to 2.1, etc.
  • The second channel is our nightly channel. Flames can be flashed to this channel, and after the initial flashing will get over the air updates on a daily or nearly daily basis.

You can get recovery files and tools at the following storage location:

Note: Firefox OS images v180 and above are based on Android KK (Kitkat, 4.4); JB (Jellybean, 4.1–4.3) builds have now been discontinued and are no longer supported, so don't use anything older than v180.

Important: When running a shallow or full flash, your phone data will be overwritten: you should therefore back up your data before updating! See the Backing up and restoring your Flame data section for more details.

To install the base image on your device:

  1. Make sure remote debugging is enabled on your Flame, using the Remote debugging/Debugging via USB option in the device's Developer settings (the option is different, depending on whether you have Firefox 1.3 and under, or Firefox 1.4+ installed).
  2. Connect your Flame to your computer via a USB cable if it isn't already. Verify that the computer is connected to the device by running the adb devices command in a terminal.
  3. Download the .zip file referenced above. Unzip it onto your Desktop.
  4. Go into the directory you extracted the software into and run it:
    • On Windows, enter the directory in your command prompt, then run the flash.bat script using flash.bat (or double click the file in explorer.)
      Note: If flash.bat is missing, simply rename the flash.sh file to flash.bat, then run that. Make sure you have adb and fastboot installed and available on PATH.
    • On Linux / OSX, enter the directory in your terminal, then run the flash.sh script using sudo ./flash.sh (if you don't run it using sudo, the flash script may fail to see your device, and it won't work).

Note: You are also welcome to build your own builds to install on the Flame: see Building and installing Firefox OS.

Updating your Flame to a nightly build

Note: For this current build, Nightly development builds of Firefox OS do not support A-GPS, which may lead to slow performance of GPS functionality. We plan to resolve this in an updated future Nightly channel.

Important: When running a shallow or full flash, your phone data will be overwritten: you should therefore back up your data before updating! See the Backing up and restoring your Flame data section for more details.

  1. Before updating your phone to a Nightly build you should flash the latest base image to make sure the underlying systems are up to date. Download a base image and use it to update your device's software, as explained above.
  2. Because the above step installs a fresh operating system on your device, you'll need to enable remote debugging on your Flame again, using the Remote debugging option in the device's Developer settings.
  3. Next, choose a build to install (found on http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/mozilla.org/b2g/nightly/.) You'll want one of the following:
  4. Pick a version and download both the b2g-XX.XX.en-US.android-arm.tar.gz and gaia.zip files. Save them inside a directory on your Desktop called something like fxos.
  5. Download the shallow flash script and save it in  the same directory as the above two files: follow the link, press the Raw button, then use your browser's save functionality to save the page directly as shallow_flash.sh.
  6. For Windows users: Also download the shallow_flash.bat windows script and install Cygwin, which provides a Linux-like environment on Windows. You will need to install the default Cygwin base category plus the unzip package (on the installer, type unzip in the search box and click skip).
  7. In your Terminal, cd into the directory you saved the files in and Flash the builds to your phone using the following:

    Linux:

    ./shallow_flash.sh -ggaia.zip -Gb2g-XX.XX.en-US.android-arm.tar.gz
    

    Mac:

    ./shallow_flash.sh -g gaia.zip -G b2g-XX.XX.en-US.android-arm.tar.gz

    Windows:

    Double click shallow_flash.bat (with cogs icon) or run it from a command shell. It will flash gaia.zip and a single b2g-XX.XX.en-US.android-arm.tar.gz file.

Note: If you get a "permission denied" error when running the above commands, your shell script probably doesn't have the right permissions. Running chmod +x shallow_flash.sh on it should solve this problem.

Note: A "shallow flash" updates Gecko and Gaia plus data directories, as opposed to a full flash, which updates Gecko/Gaia, but also the underlying Gonk layer and associated binaries particular to that device type. This is why it is a good idea to update to the official base image first, as suggested above, then shallow flash over the top of that, once you've got the Gonk/binary layer right.

Once the install procedure finishes the phone should reboot into the updated build and display the first time user workflow.

Font fix

After updating Gecko and Gaia to nightly with the v180 base image, there will be a mismatch between the fonts that Gecko and Gaia expects and what the base image provides. To fix this, download our font update package, extract it, navigate into the directory created by extracting, and run the supplied flash.sh script.

Note: Another option is to use the update_system_fonts.sh script, which will download and flash the system fonts automatically.

Switch to nightly update channel

  1. Make sure remote debugging is enabled on your Flame, using the Remote debugging/Debugging via USB option in the device's Developer settings
  2. Download the change channel script: follow the link, press the Raw button, then use your browser's save functionality to save the page directly as change_channel.sh.
  3. In your Terminal, cd into the directory you saved the script in and change the update channel on your phone using the following command:
     
    ./change_channel.sh -v nightly
  4. Once the phone reboots, check for updates by going into Settings > Device information > Check now

You should now get nightly OTA updates to your phone.

Note: You can choose between several different update channels. Run "./change_channel.sh -h" to see the other channel options.

Fastboot mode

If flashing a new build to your phone fails to work, your phone may become unresponsive, leading to the phone rebooting in recovery mode. The recovery mode provides few options (Reboot, Update from adb, Wipe data, Wipe cache, and Update from sdcard). Unfortunately, selecting Update from adb triggers a sideload mode in which you cannot use the other adb commands. The adb sideload command would work but the various flash scripts rely on other adb commands.

You can force fastboot mode as follows:

  1. Power off the phone (which may involve removing the battery in extreme cases...)
  2. Plug in the USB cable.
  3. Power the phone up again by pressing the Volume Down and Power buttons together.

The phone should now display the text "FASTBOOT": it is in fastboot mode and is waiting for a USB connection. At this point, a USB-connected, computer with adb installed should see the phone listed when the fastboot devices command is run. Note that regular adb would not see the device — only fastboot sees it. In this mode, you can use the flash script to install v180 as explained above. As the script does use both adb and fastboot commands, you may see some initial error and warnings from adb, but the device should be flashed properly at the end of the procedure.

Emergency download mode

If flashing a new build to your phone fails to work, your phone becomes unresponsive, and the phone cannot enter fastboot mode, you can use emergency mode for recovery. A USB cable and the Emergency Download Tool are required to enter emergency download mode. Install this tool and follow the instructions.

Recovery mode

You can enter recovery mode to clear your phone data or manually update the firmware. There are two ways to enter this mode:

  • If ADB tools are available, make sure Remote debugging is turned on in the phone's Developer settings, connect your phone to your computer via USB and enter adb reboot recovery on the command line.
  • If your phone is powered off, press the Volume Up + Power buttons together.

When in recovery mode, press the Volume up/down keys to move the selection highlight, and the Power key to select. Make sure you have your phone data (Contacts, SMS, etc.) backed up before clearing data, and your upgrade packages downloaded before updating.

Backing up and restoring your Flame data

When using a Flame, you won't want to lose your phone's contacts and other data while upgrading to a new build (as explained earlier in this article). To backup and restore data you can use our Backup and restore profile tool.

  1. To use this, first download it from Github at the above link. The easiest way to save it is to press the Raw button, then save the raw code as a .sh file using your browser's Save As... option.
  2. Next, make sure you'll have the necessary permissions to execute this file: cd into the directory where you saved the file, and run the following command:
    chmod +x backup_restore_profile.sh

Note: When using this tool, you'll also need to make sure that your phone is connected via USB to your computer, and that ADB (see Important steps to follow first above) and Debugging via USB (in your device's Developer settings) are enabled.

Note: These instructions should work on Mac and Linux out of the box. To use the backup and restore feature on Windows you'll have to install Cygwin and run it from inside that.

Backing up data from your phone

In the directory where you saved the backup_restore_profile.sh file, run the following:

./backup_restore_profile.sh -b

This should save your device profile to a directory called mozilla-profile, in the same directory as the script is located.

Restoring data to your phone

In the directory where your mozilla-profile directory is located (see above section), run the following:

./backup_restore_profile.sh -r

Other options

The full list of options available for the backup_restore_profile.sh script is as follows:

  • -b or --backup — Backup user profile.
  • -r or --restore — Restore user profile.
  • --sdcard — Also backup/restore the SD card.
  • --no-reboot — Do not reboot B2G after backup/restore.
  • -p or --profile-dir — Specify the profile folder. The default is ./mozilla-profile.
  • -h or --help — Display help.

Pushing apps to your Flame

The App Manager and WebIDE tools make it easy to push apps to your phone, for testing, etc.

RAM adjustment

You can adjust the available RAM capacity to see how apps perform on Firefox OS phones with lower memory footprints.

This is accomplished by entering fastboot mode (install fastboot first, which is available on the same SDK page as ADB) and typing:

adb reboot bootloader
fastboot oem mem [0|256-1024]

“0” is the memory automatically detected and “256-1024” is the number of megabytes. For example, if you want to adjust device RAM capacity to 512M, enter fastboot oem mem 512.

You'll need to then reboot your device for the settings to take effect. This can be done using:

fastboot reboot

The current memory size can be returned by entering fastboot mode and typing:

fastboot getvar mem

Network and Device specs

Network:

  • 802.11b/g/n wireless internet
  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • UMTS 850/900/1900/2100MHz

Hardware: You can find more of the hardware features listed on our Phone and device specs page.

Additional features include:

  • NFC
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Accelerometer
  • FM radio
  • Proximity Sensor
  • GPS W / A-GPS support
  • Ambient Light Sensor

See also

 

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