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 →
One of the downsides of being an Android user is having to scrounge around for a mobile browser alternative since the Android default browser is so woefully lacking. I use MoboTap’s Dolphin browser on my Android device because it provides a nifty swipe-based approach to bringing up menus and bookmarks, it has a lot of terrific add-ons such as the “Browse Faster” extension that lets you close apps on your device, and it does tab-based browsing better than most other mobile browsers I’ve tried. The downside, though, is that Dolphin can be slow and is very prone to crashing. Mozilla’s newest version of Firefox for Android released Tuesday offers some significant improvements over Dolphin and the default Android browser but still has some areas that can be improved. Hit the jump for more. More →
iPad fans disappointed with their browsing experience could soon have a Safari alternative from Mozilla. Mozilla has taken the wraps off a new version of its Firefox browser that it has been designing specifically for the Apple iPad, dubbed “Junior,” that the foundation says “makes browsing more fun, more ergonomic and re-thinks browser user experience from the ground up.” While this sounds ambitious, the development team at Mozilla seems to have really created a browser that’s unique to tablets rather than just simply porting its browser over from desktop or mobile platforms. More →