Today Mozilla showed off something that seems like it's an amazing addition to its software portfolio: a Firefox Android homescreen launcher. That would be huge news, if it weren't for the fact that Mozilla invested in the promising launcher Everything.me (later rebranded EverythingMe) in November of 2012, eventually making its search-focused interface a core part of the Firefox mobile OS, which is just now getting off the ground. Now Mozilla and EverythingMe are showing off a tweaked version of that app, rebranded as Firefox Launcher for Android.
The security of our mobile apps and private data is a very serious matter. This is particularly true for high value targets like web browsers, which often store login credentials that can be used to access many of the websites we use on a regular basis. Unfortunately, browsers are also very complicated applications with an extensive set of features that are difficult to lock down completely. Sebastián Guerrero Selma of viaForensics recently posted a video demonstrating a newly discovered vulnerability in Firefox for Android which would allow hackers to access both the contents of the SD card and the browser's private data.
Mozilla UI Engineer Lucas Rocha, in a post to his blog earlier today, announced Firefox's "biggest UI change … since [its] first native release back in June last year."
The UI update, Rocha explains, includes a completely redesigned and rewritten Awesomescreen, which combines the interactive and functional aspects of the start page and the old Awesomescreen into one page with super-smooth swipable tabs. For those who aren't familiar with Mozilla's mobile browser, the Awesomescreen allows users to quickly get a handle on their bookmarks and browsing history.
The Xperia E, Sony's low-end Jelly Bean-powered smartphone which was announced back in December may have another trick up its sleeve yet. The manufacturer is offering owners of the device the chance to test out Mozilla's fledgling Firefox OS on the device via a downloadable ROM. Meant for "advanced developers," the ROM comes with a few warnings from Sony, chiefly that you should know what you're doing before you get started.
I know. You thought Flash was long gone. You mourned the relationship and moved on. Having made peace with the past and exploring a bright future, you were ready to start a new life with HTML5. Now, thanks to Mozilla, your ex has come calling, bringing back all those old memories. But enough with the metaphors. The organization behind Firefox announced Shumway, an open SWF runtime project, today. With this, the company hopes to bring compatibility for Flash content back to the web, particularly on mobile.
The team behind Firefox for Android teased the upcoming release with a tablet-friendly design back in late August, and the final version of FF9 just landed in the Android Market. The update not only features a specialized tablet interface, but also boosts performance and startup speed and brings some HTML5 tweaks to the scene, like camera input support and form validation.
The tablet interface offers some nice features over its phone-centric counterpart, like full-screen browsing in portrait, optimized tabs for easy thumb-switching between open pages, and a quick access buttons on the Action Bar.
Firefox for Android has come a long way since the project hatched as "Fennec" many months ago - there is no doubt about that. What started as a bloated, slow, and buggy pile of crap (really, it was bad), is now one of the greatest browsers Android has to offer (add-ons ftw!). Don't get me wrong - it's still lacking quite a few features - notably, Flash support, faster font redraw on zooming, better startup times, etc., but Mozilla knows this and is working hard on the next version - 5.0.
As a fan of Ubuntu, I really love using Mozilla Firefox. In my opinion, it is the best desktop browser out there (sorry, Chrome). It was because of my love for Firefox that I became elated when I first heard that Mozilla would be developing a browser for the Android platform.
Having followed the development of Firefox for Android from an alpha and now to a beta, I jumped at the chance to interview software engineer Matt Brubeck, one of the lead developers of Firefox for Android.
Mozilla's been pretty good about keeping the mobile version of its ever-popular Firefox browser up to date (both with the current beta and with the old Fennec Alpha), and it looks like they have every intention to continue that trend. Just today, the third beta of Firefox 4 went live in the Android Market, bringing a number of minor additions along with it: