Cherry Mobile and Firefox Officially Launch Ace, a PhP999 Firefox Phone

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Cherry Mobile Ace 30

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During an intimate dinner at Lucky Rainbow Makati, Cherry Mobile gathered several tech bloggers to witness the official launch of the Cherry Mobile Ace. The mini event was hosted by Cherry Mobile’s Igue Bonifacio, Kim Buot and Lloyd Florendo. Other than the esteemed tech bloggers invited by Cherry Mobile, the event was also attended by Mozilla Reps, Mr.Bob Reyes and Kemuel Domanog, and Mozilla officers from Taipei: (1) Charles Chen (Business Development Manager); (2) Christina Lu (Marketing Manager), (3). Marvin Khoo (Product Manager).

Cherry Mobile Ace is the company’s first device pre-installed with Firefox OS. It also currently holds the most affordable smartphone ‘badge’ as its costs lower than the Firefox phone shown during MWC 2014. Cherry Mobile takes a lot of pride on this as they have, yet again, left an indelible mark to the tech and consumer electronics industry in the Philippines.

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We blogged about this last November 17, and during that time, Ace’s costs is PhP1,499 or barely $25. Come December 14, the phone will be offered at the discounted price of PhP999 or just $22.50.

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Cherry Mobile positions the smartphone as a bridge between feature phones and Android smartphones. Its screen measures 3.5″, just the right size for people used to feature phones. It’s equipped with a 1GHz processor, and complemented with a 128mb RAM. Before you say ‘ouch’, these 2 components make up for the affordability of the device; during our initial hands-on, its base spec can pretty well handle the web-based architecture and ecosystem of Firefox OS. Imagine, though, what a Firefox phone with dual or quad core + 1gb RAM can do! Firefox OS is bound to greatness.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Cherry Mobile and Firefox just left an indelible mark to the tech and consumer electronics industry in the Philippines.[/su_pullquote]Ace’s storage memory is 256mb, and it’s expandable via its microSD slot (expandable up to 16gb more). Ace, however, only has 69.3mb available storage for apps at first boot and 8.9mb for media. You can put in 2 SIMs, and it has all the necessary connectivity features like Bluetooth and Wi-fi.

Quick Device Tour

Ace is available in 7 colors: black, light blue, light green, light red, yellow, white and orange. It’s 3.5″ screen is sandwiched by its speakers (yes, no front facing camera) and a minimalist circle capacitive button. Its microUSB slot is placed just above the volume rockers on the left side; and its 3.5mm headphone jack is located beside the sleep wake button on top of the device.

 

Ace’s camera is located at the back. It’s also where you can find the speaker grills. ‘Ace’ branding doesn’t follow the norm as it’s printed horizontally.

Software

During our first boot, I was greeted with an unfamiliar welcome screen. The last time I tried a Firefox OS phone was when I tried and reviewed the GeeksPhone Keon. A lot of things has totally changed since Keon, software wise.

After I went thru the easy process of setting up my account, I was brought to the homescreen with 5 (v) x 4 (h) icon layout. It’s pre-installed with 2 Cherry Mobile apps: Cherry Fun Club and eWarranty.

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There is no app tray, but there’s an application hub located on leftmost pane of the homescreen. There are 4 pre-curated folders on the left pane – Social, Games, Showbiz. If you’re connected the internet, tapping one of the pre-curated icons would bring out suggestions, which you can easily install.

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The Marketplace houses all the “apps” that you can download to the smartphone. Facebook, Twitter, Line, Here Maps, Aviary – most of the popular apps you can think of are already populating the Marketplace. These are, however, not native apps as everything’s made of HTML5. This, in essence, supports Firefox’s open-source philosophy. Complementing this philosophy are the availability of tools and resources to create apps. Every “app” is free in the marketplace; and in effect, Mozilla does notprofit from any developers. This ecosystem is also consistent with the positioning of the phones with FirefoxOS – entry-level smartphones for people in emerging countries.

Good Times for Firefox

The start of Cherry Mobile’s and Firefox’s relationship is to a very good start. The awesome community established by Mozilla Reps in the Philippines would be a great addition to Cherry Mobile’s pool of brand followers. Kudos to Bob Reyes, Faye Tandog and Eusebio Barrun Jr for their arduous commitment and dedication to grow the community.

This move by both companies would also encourage more web and app developers create amazing things using the tools prepared by Mozilla. Ace is an excellent unit as daily driver for new smartphone adapters, and capable unit for Firefox app testers. When I asked Cherry Mobile’s Firefox Brand officer, Kim Buot, about the company’s future projects with Mozilla, she smiled and said with utmost vigor, “Yes! We have activities lined up to strengthen and promote the brand and product.” I smiled back and replied, “Next year’s probably going to be an exciting year for Firefox and Cherry Mobile”.

What about you guys? What are your thoughts about the Cherry Mobile Ace? Have you tried one at Cherry Mobile concept stores or kiosks? Would you buy it at PhP999?

[button align=”center”]From¬† December 13 to 15, Cherry Mobile Ace will be sold at PhP999.[/button]

Cherry Mobile Ace Specs

  • Screen: 3.5″ HVGA Capacity
  • Camera: 2.0mp rear camera
  • Processor: 1.0 GHz
  • ROM: 256mb
  • RAM: 128mb
  • Expansion slot: up to 16gb
  • Battery: 1,100mAh
  • Dual SIM
  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of gadgetpilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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