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Is it possible to install an app obtained via a MicroSD card or Bluetooth?

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Suppose I'm in an area where there is very little Wi-fi or other internet access (e.g. rural Papua New Guinea). Or, an area where the internet is strictly controlled or monitored. So the Marketplace is not an option.

People around me are using their cheap cell phones to share photos via bluetooth, and music and videos via SD cards.

Question: can I also distribute an app via MicroSD card or Bluetooth? I've tried this with some Java phones and found that installing an app from either of those sources is disallowed. What about on FirefoxOS?

The Firefox OS web site says you can update the OS from an SD card. One of the FAQ's at http://www.ebay.com/itm/ZTE-OPEN-C-3G-Unlocked-Firefox-Smartphone-Cell-Phone-Dual-Core-GPS-WiFi-AT-T-/291243074570?pt=Cell_Phones&hash=item43cf70a40a suggests that you cannot install an app from an SD card, at least on a ZTE Open C.

But I'd like to get more of a horse's-mouth answer, if possible. Is this something that Firefox OS leaves up to the discretion of each phone manufacturer? Or is it considered such a security risk that Firefox OS will not allow it on any phone?

Thanks, Lars

Suppose I'm in an area where there is very little Wi-fi or other internet access (e.g. rural Papua New Guinea). Or, an area where the internet is strictly controlled or monitored. So the Marketplace is not an option. People around me are using their cheap cell phones to share photos via bluetooth, and music and videos via SD cards. Question: can I also distribute an app via MicroSD card or Bluetooth? I've tried this with some Java phones and found that installing an app from either of those sources is disallowed. What about on FirefoxOS? The Firefox OS web site says you can update the OS from an SD card. One of the FAQ's at http://www.ebay.com/itm/ZTE-OPEN-C-3G-Unlocked-Firefox-Smartphone-Cell-Phone-Dual-Core-GPS-WiFi-AT-T-/291243074570?pt=Cell_Phones&hash=item43cf70a40a suggests that you cannot install an app from an SD card, at least on a ZTE Open C. But I'd like to get more of a horse's-mouth answer, if possible. Is this something that Firefox OS leaves up to the discretion of each phone manufacturer? Or is it considered such a security risk that Firefox OS will not allow it on any phone? Thanks, Lars

Modified by huttarl

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Epicaleb 21 solutions 186 answers

Helpful Reply

Hi, huttarl!

Beyond the Firefox Marketplace, your options for distributing apps are unfortunately rather limited.

To my knowledge, Firefox OS does not support any Bluetooth/microSD card app installation. However, you can install an app to a phone by connecting the phone to a computer via USB cable. This is often used by developers but may suit your needs: See this article on the Mozilla Developer Network.

I hope that helps! Please feel free to post back with more questions.

Hi, huttarl! Beyond the Firefox Marketplace, your options for distributing apps are unfortunately rather limited. To my knowledge, Firefox OS does not support any Bluetooth/microSD card app installation. However, you can install an app to a phone by connecting the phone to a computer via USB cable. This is often used by developers but may suit your needs: [https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/Firefox_OS/Using_the_App_Manager See this article on the Mozilla Developer Network]. I hope that helps! Please feel free to post back with more questions.

Question owner

Epicaleb, thanks for this reply. Yes I had heard about installing an app via USB cable. That is certainly an option for limited sharing, but since it requires a computer, it won't work "virally" the way photos and music are shared from friend to friend to friend on the street.

I'd like to know more about how this distinction works. It sounds like Firefox OS apps are just files (HTML etc.). And files can be copied via Bluetooth and SD card. But somehow, files acquired in these ways must be tagged as coming from an untrustworthy source, is that it? Otherwise, how could Firefox OS know not to allow them to be installed, even if they were copied to the phone's internal storage?

If this isn't the right place to ask these sorts of questions, is there a more developer-oriented forum where I could get more details?

Thanks, Lars

Epicaleb, thanks for this reply. Yes I had heard about installing an app via USB cable. That is certainly an option for limited sharing, but since it requires a computer, it won't work "virally" the way photos and music are shared from friend to friend to friend on the street. I'd like to know more about how this distinction works. It sounds like Firefox OS apps are just files (HTML etc.). And files can be copied via Bluetooth and SD card. But somehow, files acquired in these ways must be tagged as coming from an untrustworthy source, is that it? Otherwise, how could Firefox OS know not to allow them to be installed, even if they were copied to the phone's internal storage? If this isn't the right place to ask these sorts of questions, is there a more developer-oriented forum where I could get more details? Thanks, Lars
Epicaleb 21 solutions 186 answers

Helpful Reply

Yes, files can be transferred to a Firefox OS device via Bluetooth, but it cannot be used to install apps. To my knowledge, the MozActivity APIs are the only ones that allow a developer to access the Bluetooth controls. I'm not sure if they can be used effectively to send the files of an app to another phone.

Once another Firefox OS phone receives the files from Bluetooth, it will only handle media (images, videos, music, etc). I don't believe it will install an app. The same would go for using the microSD card. Bluetooth and the microSD card slot are only used by the OS for media.

In theory, I assume directly copying an app's files to the phone's app storage may work, but I'm pretty positive you would have to alter something in the phone's setup files so that it knows to look for the manifest file and the index file of the new app. I believe it's in some JSON file, but I'm not sure.

In short, I don't think it's a matter of Firefox OS knowing to tag files as untrustworthy; it's just that the OS only knows to deal with media files coming in from Bluetooth and microSD, and nothing else.

It may be a security precaution, but again, I'm not sure.

Sorry for being unable to help you! Please feel free to post back with more questions.

Yes, files can be transferred to a Firefox OS device via Bluetooth, but it cannot be used to install apps. To my knowledge, the MozActivity APIs are the only ones that allow a developer to access the Bluetooth controls. I'm not sure if they can be used effectively to send the files of an app to another phone. Once another Firefox OS phone receives the files from Bluetooth, it will only handle media (images, videos, music, etc). I don't believe it will install an app. The same would go for using the microSD card. Bluetooth and the microSD card slot are only used by the OS for media. In theory, I assume directly copying an app's files to the phone's app storage may work, but I'm pretty positive you would have to alter something in the phone's setup files so that it knows to look for the manifest file and the index file of the new app. I believe it's in some JSON file, but I'm not sure. In short, I don't think it's a matter of Firefox OS knowing to tag files as untrustworthy; it's just that the OS only knows to deal with media files coming in from Bluetooth and microSD, and nothing else. It may be a security precaution, but again, I'm not sure. Sorry for being unable to help you! Please feel free to post back with more questions.

Modified by Epicaleb