Mozilla is out to show that it wasn’t just blowing smoke when it said it wanted to bring console-quality games directly to your web browser. Per Engadget, Mozilla has posted a demonstration video of Android game Epic Citadel that’s been ported over to Firefox using the Unreal Engine 3. While the video is just a straight scenic walk-through with no combat or interaction with non-player characters, it does show that it’s possible to have high-quality graphics run at a solid frame rate of 16 frames per second within a desktop browser. The Unreal Engine 3 is used to power such A-list games as Bioshock Infinite, Mass Effect 3 and Batman: Arkham City, and porting it to a browser would be a major accomplishment for Mozilla engineers. Mozilla’s full demonstration video is posted below. More →
Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms have a stranglehold on the global smartphone market that doesn’t appear to be slipping anytime soon. But as a bloody battle rages for the No.3 and No.4 positions in the smartphone race, a new contender with a very different strategy has now hit the market: Firefox OS. Beginning immediately, the first two Firefox-powered smartphones are available to developers and the general public. Or, they were available — it’s hard to say if consumers at large have had their interest piqued by Firefox OS, but both the Keon ($119) and Peak ($194) were sold out on Tuesday morning shortly after becoming available so developers are certainly intrigued. We don’t know how many units were stocked with this first round of shipments, but Mozilla’s new open source mobile OS seems to be off to a good start.
Speaking at AllThingsD’s Dive Into Mobile conference on Monday, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs announced that the first Firefox OS smartphones will launch around June, Business Insider reported. The executive revealed that initial availability will be limited to emerging markets including Venezuela, Poland, Brazil, Portugal and Spain. The HTML5-based operating system will also be making its way to the United States, as Sprint has previously confirmed that it plans to launch a Firefox OS smartphone sometime next year. Kovacs noted that the delay is due to the company’s plan to build a desirable ecosystem before launching in the highly competitive U.S. market.
Samsung (005930) would love to lessen its dependence on Google (GOOG) services and now the company plans to team with Mozilla to create a next-generation browser engine that will presumably power non-Google web browsers on future Samsung devices. Mozilla says that the new engine, dubbed Servo, “is an attempt to rebuild the Web browser from the ground up on modern hardware” that entails “addressing the causes of security vulnerabilities while designing a platform that can fully utilize the performance of tomorrow’s massively parallel hardware to enable new and richer experiences on the Web.” Needless to say, giving a Servo-powered future version of Firefox a prominent place on Samsung devices would do wonders for Mozilla’s mobile browser market share and would give Samsung an alternative to both the default Android browser and Google’s Chrome on its smartphones and tablets.
Fragmentation is one of those unpleasant topics that no one likes to discuss. That is, unless you are the CEO of Mozilla. Gary Kovacs, the chief executive of Mozilla, took aim at Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG) and everyone else in the mobile industry during a keynote at Mobile World Congress this week in Spain. The executive believes that the mobile industry has become too consolidated and consumers should have more options available to them. More →
Mozilla on Tuesday announced a new partnership with GeeksPhone to produce a pair of developer devices running the HTML5-based Firefox OS. Both are low-end smartphones that fall in line with the company’s plans to attack emerging and prepaid markets. The Keon is equipped with a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 1GHz single-core Snapdragon S1 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a micro SD slot and a 3-megapixel rear camera. The Peak has slightly better specs, although it will still be considered a low-end device by today’s standards. The smartphone features a 4.3-inch qHD display, a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage and an 8-megapixel rear camera. Pricing information was not disclosed, however Mozilla said the first developer devices are expected to launch in February.
Mozilla messed up last week when it released Firefox 16 with what it described as a “serious security flaw.” But quick action on the organization’s part and effective patching have helped Firefox 16 gain rapid adoption among Firefox users, according to new data from Chitika. Overall, Chitika found that “Mozilla caught the issue before a large portion of their users had updated to the new version, limiting the number of individuals who were operating with security vulnerabilities.” As a result, Chitka says that “Firefox 16 is on track to be just as successful as previous versions in terms of adoption rate.”
This is why it’s always good to wait a bit before downloading new versions of browsers. In a post on Mozilla’s official security blog, the organization says it has discovered a “serious security flaw” in the latest version of its Firefox browser and has stopped offering it to users so that it can be fixed. The company has already released a patch for the Android version of Firefox 16 and has created a webpage that will help Firefox users temporarily downgrade their browser to the previous version. Mozilla says that the Firefox 16 security flaw “could allow a malicious site to potentially determine which websites users have visited and have access to the URL or URL parameters.” More →
Add ZTE (0763) to the list of manufacturers trying to decrease their dependence on Android by diversifying their mobile portfolios. The company’s executive vice president He Shiyou told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that ZTE will launch smartphones with Mozilla’s Firefox OS in the first quarter of 2013, while also confirming that ZTE is planning new Windows Phone 8 smartphones to go on sale later this year. Mozilla revealed plans for its own HTML5-based mobile platform earlier this year and said that initial hardware partners will include ZTE, TCL and Qualcomm (QCOM). More →
Mozilla announced earlier this month that the HTML5-based mobile platform it’s currently concocting will launch in early 2013 as Firefox Mobile OS. The platform will focus on open Web standards, and Mozilla has already partnered with Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint (S), Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor to support the platform. TechWeek Europe recently published a gallery of screenshots depicting various areas of Firefox Mobile and it definitely looks, well, like a familiar mashup of Google’s (GOOG) Android OS and Apple’s (AAPL) iOS software. Considering the two platforms are completely dominating the smartphone space right now — just ask Nokia — we suppose this could be a good path to take in terms of giving users a UI they’ll already be familiar with. As aggressive as companies like Apple are getting with software and design patents, however, Mozilla would definitely be wise to tread lightly.
UPDATE: A Mozilla spokesperson contacted BGR via email with the following statement: “While those screenshots are of Firefox OS, they are outdated. We’ll share new images soon. As an open source company developing products in the open, you can expect to see in-progress mock ups and screenshots of all of our projects as they evolve. These are not any indication of the final product.” More →
Firefox fans who are turned off by frequent browser updates aren’t alone, as a former Mozilla developer says he shares their pain. Via Neowin.net, former Mozilla developer Jono DiCarlo on his own personal blog goes into detail about why he thinks his ex-employer’s strategy of pushing out rapid updates to the Firefox browser has been a major mistake. More →
Mozilla on Monday revealed that its Boot to Gecko mobile platform has been rebranded as Firefox OS. The HTML5-based OS will power smartphones built to open Web standards. “The introduction of the open mobile OS continues the Mozilla mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web for users and developers. As billions of users are expected to come online for the first time in the coming years, it is important to deliver a compelling smartphone experience that anyone can use,” said Gary Kovacs, CEO, Mozilla. “The large number of operators and manufacturers now supporting this effort will bring additional resources and diversity to our global offerings.” The company has partnered with Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Telenor to support the operating system, with the first devices set to be released early next year. The initial Firefox OS hardware will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset and will be produced by ZTE and TCL. Mozilla’s press release follows below. More →