mozilla

We’ve covered the journey of Firefox for Windows 8 since the project was announced in late 2012. Our first real look at the app came in February 2013 when we took the app for a spin and did a hands-on of Firefox for Windows 8. This past August the team at Mozilla announced that Firefox for Windows 8 would come out in December.

We later learned that the release was pushed back to 2014. A bunch of updates later and the app finally went into open beta last month. Turns out that was all for nothing. Mozilla is killing Firefox for Windows 8.

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For those of you who are fans of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, there continues to be a long wait as we anticipate a Windows 8 version of the application. The company had planned to launch their Windows 8 browser almost two years ago in quarter one of 2012 – that never happened. According to a new revised schedule on the Mozilla’s development Wiki, the release is now slated for March 18 of this year.

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Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has come a long way from the days of IE6 and may even represent one of the best touch screen web browsers around. Other third party companies don’t want to be left out of the future though, and Firefox has been the strongest advocate as its beta version of Firefox for Windows 8 continues to be developed. Recently, a blog post by Mozilla’s Brian Bondy, revealed that one annoyance of using Internet Explorer on the desktop and modern interface, will be remedied.

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Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, has announced that a version of their web browser is now available for download and features optimization for Windows 8 tablets. It is important to note that the download is a preview and may contain bugs alongside its enhancements. This is after we learned that the company would be delaying the release until 2014.

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If you’re running a PC, odds are you’re using either Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, or Mozilla Firefox as your web browser. The trio are always going head-to-head for marketshare with new features and other innovations. Solid touch support is one area that both Chrome and Firefox aren’t doing so hot compared to Internet Explorer.

Which is why the tech community was pretty stoked when Mozilla announced their plans for Firefox as a Windows 8 style app. Unfortunately it looks like the launch of that application has been pushed back.

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Mozilla is looking to launch Firefox on Windows 8 with a Modern UI (Metro to you and I). Think of Internet Explorer, but a browser made by Mozilla and you get the idea. If you're a huge fan of the popular web browser and have been using the desktop version (or own a Windows RT tablet), fear not as you'll soon be able to enjoy all the features and functionality with Microsoft's simple look and feel. ETA? December 10th.

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LG has informed CNET the company has no immediate plans to support Windows Phone 8 with new hardware. While the company remains open to using Microsoft's platform in the future, it doesn't see high enough demand for another smartphone to be released. This sounds odd since Samsung (also arguably a rather conservative OEM partner) is pushing its ATIV S and Odyssey Windows Phones.

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We haven’t been following the Mozilla Foundation’s progress too much on a Windows 8 browser—we just know that they were working on one.

So either we missed it or this is hot off the presses but they have released a “nightly build” of their Windows 8 App (Modern Style) Firefox browser for x86 devices. That means you Surface RT (ARM CPU) folk will have to wait a bit, but if you’re on full-fledged Windows 8, you may want to take a look.

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For the last few years, Mozilla, makers of the king of indie browsers Firefox, have been working on a new mobile OS called Boot2Gekko. The OS was built around HTML5 and CSS coding tools and it tended to look very much like Android and iOS—that is it was a collection of icons laid out in a grid with some notifications.

Today, in a somewhat surprising move they announced the re-naming of the OS to Firefox OS and they intend to put it on phones next year. In a press release, the company noted that it had deals with TCL Communication Technology (Alcatel) and ZTE to make the hardware for new devices with carrier partners Deutsche Telekom, Etisalat, Smart, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Telenor are all backing the initiative.

What caught our eye though was Sprint. The company who has the HTC Arrive, who claimed sales are miserable and were “thinking about” Windows Phone 8 but who were the only major US carrier to not publicly endorse it after the recent Summit.  This is the same company now throwing their hat in with Firefox OS which no one has even seen yet let alone knows what’s unique about it. Yet they can’t sign on with Microsoft and their one-two punch of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8? Yeesh

In fairness, Firefox OS looks to be aiming for low cost handsets, the same market that Windows Phone Tango wants to grab but can't. Even Android evidently can't go as low as Firefox OS though OEMs are certainly trying (don't forget, Android licensees have to pay Microsoft to use Android). Both Google and Microsoft have publicly commented about the "$99" smartphone--referring to the cost to manufacture, not sell. Just today Microsoft reiterated the flexibility of WP8 and its ability scale up as well as down for low-cost hardware.

Early screenshots of Firefox OS

Although we have a soft-spot for the Mozilla Foundation and we think they have made the internet world a better place, we can’t help but wonder if this will go anywhere. Microsoft, with all of their money, large ecosystem, media tie-ins and strong partnership with Nokia are barely making waves. Most people have already written off RIM with Blackberry 10 and that’s a company with an established track record and valuable IP—what chance does Mozilla have with Firefox OS?

So 2013 will be an interesting year of the giants, Android and iOS with the juggernaut-in-waiting Microsoft dominating the smartphone market, while Blackberry 10, Firefox OS and Bada all fight for fourth place.

We’ll let the free market decide this one but we know where to place our bets. As for Sprint, if they don’t say something soon about Windows Phone 8 or we don’t start to hear rumblings of new WP8 devices, we seriously suggest you ditch them and look at T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T or US Cellular for your next-gen handset.

Does Mozilla have a chance for the prepaid/pay-as-you-go market or will Android and Windows Phone get there first? Should Microsoft be worried? Let us know in comments.

Source: Mozilla

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In an interview with OnSoftware, Jay Sullivan, VP of Products at Mozilla, insisted that Mozilla is not planning a version of Firefox for Windows Phone 7, but should we be bothered? Sure, Internet Explorer on the desktop has been continuously questioned/trashed by users, battered by EU to be uncoupled from Windows due to security concerns and more, but it's a fantastic implementation on WP7. 

At the moment we are focusing on Android in terms of the browser. For those other platforms we may do things like Firefox Home, so you can fire up any browser and get to your Firefox data. We’re not looking to bringing Firefox itself to Windows Phone 7 at this point.

Microsoft are working hard to bring the ancient browser up-to-date with current standards of speed, reliability, security and computability. Our Tim Ferrill wrote an article on why we should care about IE9 on WP7. So is Firefox really needed on the platform?

We've witnessed more and more readers voice opinions that they prefer IE even over the stock Android browser, which is no slouch. How about you? Do you want to see Firefox on Windows Phone 7, or are you content with IE and how Microsoft are developing it?

Source: OnSoftware , via: Softpedia

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Mozilla's Director of Developer Relations, Christopher Blizzard, sat down with Gizmodo to discuss Firefox's mobile browser (formerly known as Fennec). Blizzard took the opportunity to reaffirm the company isn't developing for Windows Phones. This isn't anything new but it's more so how Mr. Blizzard make the affirmation that caught our attention.

"[On Windows Phone 7] they said, 'You can use stuff in Silverlight if you want, but you have to come through our app store, and we get to veto.' We're not going to bother. They're gonna ship some version of IE, which is gonna be terrible..."

We will assume "they" is Microsoft.  In referring to Windows Mobile Blizzard said,

"We were going to do Windows Mobile because Windows Mobile really needed a good browser, but they shut down their platform.".

We can't blame for Mr. Blizzard presenting Mozilla's mobile browser as the best thing since sliced bread but there are good browsers out there for the Windows Phone. Skyfire and Opera come to mind.

So, can a Windows Phone 7 ever survive without Mozilla's mobile browser? Are the current crop of browsers on Windows Mobile that bad? Personally, I think Mr. Blizzard is well off the mark. How about you?

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BirdieSync 2.0 has been released which supports synchronization of Pocket Outlook with Thunderbird cards and mails, and Lightning or Sunbird events and tasks.

Birdiesync has it's own synchronization engine and does not rely on ActiveSync. The synchronization engine maintains a history, manages unresolved items, and allows for multiple computer synchronization. The independent sync engine may create an unexpected benefit for those wanting to sync their Windows Phone with a home computer and an Exchange Server.

Reading from the FAQ of BirdieSync's website, "It is possible to synchronize your mobile device with Outlook if it is installed on a different computer (without Thunderbird/Sunbird being synchronized on this machine). So you can synchronize your mobile device with Outlook and Thunderbird if they are installed on 2 different machines. Simply be aware that all the modifications performed on either computer will be replicated on the other one." This may not be possible if you're running Windows XP the drivers for Windows Mobile Device Center (needed to connect your Windows Phone to your computer) are bundled with Activesync.  But if you're running Vista or Windows 7, it might be worth a try.

BirdieSync is compatible with Thunderbird 3.1, Lightning 1.0b2 and Sunbird 1.0b1. It is available for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 (32 and 64 bits). You can download a 21 day trial version of BirdieSync here and it will set you back 19.95 Euros (about $25 USD if my conversion rate is correct).

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One of the main reasons many of us love Firefox is for the plugin support--there's everything from Better Gmail to Omnibar to SkipScreen, all of which fix the many pitfalls of the internet.

So it's with great excitement that we read AdBlock Plus will work with Firefox's new mobile browser Fennec (which is still in early development). 

For those who don't know, AdBlock Plus is a plugin that downloads a database of ads to block while you are surfing the internet.  In turn, web pages are less cluttered and more importantly for those with slow connections or who are mobile, it allows pages to load faster.  For every ad that you see, that is one more thing to download and one more server for your device to connect to, so reducing that increases speed.  Very cool.

Of course there are consequences to blocking ads.  Specifically you are hurting much needed revenue for websites, cutting off their life blood. So we suggest you selectively use AdBlock Plus on sites you visit, disabling it for those you support.  In other words, we ask you, nay beg you oh wise internet surfers, to not use it on WMExperts as you'll deprive some of us that morning cup of coffee and you know, would have to close shop.  Thaaaaanks!

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Mozilla Weave hits V1.0b

The lines between desktop and mobile computing just got a little more blurry. (That's a good thing.) Mozilla's Weave service, which, in a nutshell, syncs your browser data — including bookmarks, passwords, history and even open tabs — just his 1.0 beta status. Why is this important for Windows Mobile, you ask? Because Mozilla's been working on its mobile browser (codenamed Fennec) for some time now, and Weave will play an integral part in it.

If you've been using a desktop browser sync, you already know what we're talking about. Your data is seamlessly synced between one or more computers and the cloud. Weave goes a step further, also syncing the data with the Fennec browser. I've been using Weave off and on with Firefox for a while now, and it's steadily improved. And v1.0b is even faster and more transparent. Now we just need to see Fennec get out the door (and get much faster), and we'll have a real browser war on our hands. [download Weave via Mozilla Labs]

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Mozilla VP talks Firefox mobile

We're still eagerly anticipating the release of the mobile Firefox browser, and the boys and girls at Mozilla are hard at work. Vice President Jay Sullivan recently talked with Lifehacker about plans in the mobile space.

"What we're seeing happen in mobile is just what we've been seeing on the desktop for the last five years. That's migrating from more client-heavy applications to more web-based applications. Fennec is built on the latest version of our browser engine, and has support for offline storage and things called web workers, which enables threaded applications that can run faster. All these technologies make it possible to build a first-class, HTML5-based application."

And in case you missed it, we also had our own interview with Firefox mobile's Brad Lassey some time ago.

Lifehacker: Mozilla VP on What Firefox Mobile Means for Your Phone

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When Firefox released the first Alpha build of its mobile browser -- aka Fennec -- in May, it left a lot of you underwhelemed. Hey, it was an Alpha build. Don't say we (and Mozilla) didn't warn you. But work has been progressing, and Mozilla just released the Alpha 2 build. Here's what's new in Alpha 2: [via Pavlov's blog]

  • Improved panning performance
  • Newly designed theme
  • JavaScript error console is now built in
  • Improved add-on support
  • Numerous bug fixes
  • Improved UI polish

As per the usual, Mozilla is developing for the HTC Touch Pro. So back up your info, and get to testing. Here's the download link. (Don't have a Touch Pro? Try out the desktop versions.) And let us know in the comments how things look.

Update: Here's one fairly big known bug worth noting:

Allow panning/scrolling in iframes - Websites that display large amounts of content in IFrames, including Google Mail and Reader, will be very hard, if not impossible, to use.

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The feature list for the Firefox mobile browser is steadily growing. In addition to the (soon-to-be) standard Firefox 3.5 engine, we're also expecting to see:

  • Weave: The all-remembering password/bookmark/tab/add-on/everything sync feature.
  • Geolocation: Your browser can tell where you are.
  • Gesture browsing: Possibly. We've seen a cool demonstration.

And now, we see a prototype that could bring automatic Web site logins to the mobile and desktop browsers via Weave sync. It'll handle OpenID, as well as normal username/password logins.

Of course, all of this is still in the early stages, and work on the Firefox mobile browser continues. Check out the demo video of the auto log-in.

Mozilla Labs blog via Lifehacker

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Work continues on the Windows Mobile version of the Firefox mobile browser (heretofore known as Fennec), but the Nokia version is farther along. And it's there that we take a quick peek at what we expect to eventually see in our version.

At the top of our list is Weave, which basically is a monster sync extension that will connect your phone's Firefox browser with your desktop version of Firefox.

If you use the XMarks (formerly Foxmarks) extension, you're already used to syncing bookmarks and passwords. Weave does even more, as you can see in the picture above. You also can sync cookies, tabs, history, forms and input.

Head on over to the Fennec blog and see more of Weave running on a Nokia N810.

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My, my, these Mozilla folks are an ambitious bunch. We already know about a bunch of the goodies to expect when we finally get our hands on a working version of the Firefox mobile browser, heretofore known as "Fennec" or "Firefox Mobile."

We know that the browser should support things we're used to on the desktop version: Add-ons, tabbed browsing, and the coup de grace — support for Weave, which syncs bookmarks, add-ons, passwords and the like.

Now comes word from Mozilla dev Jono that the mobile browser will sync tabs. Fellow Mozillian Brad Lassey (check out our Q&A with him here) puts this into a real-world scenario:

Several use cases have been thrown around, but the one that rings the loudest for me goes something like this: You’re looking for a new restaurant to try from your laptop at home, find one and head out. Once you get to the neighborhood, you realize you have no idea where this hole in the wall place is. With tab syncing you can pull out your mobile device, launch Fennec and see a list of tabs open on your laptop (and all your other computers). You select the tab you need, and instantly are looking at the same content you had on your laptop.

Pretty cool, indeed. In other news, ZDNet UK [via] had a sit-down with Mozilla Mobile Business chief Jay Sullivan, who tells us that "Fennec" is just a code name, and the browser will simply be "Firefox," and not "Firefox Mobile."

So, you'll have Firefox running on your Windows phone, which in turn will be running Windows Mobile (be it 6, 6.1 or 6.5). Your desktop or lappy will have Firefox running on Windows, until such time as you choose to become mobile and — oh, no, I've gone cross-eyed.

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Ask and ye shall receive. No sooner do we get another very cool look at what Fennec – Mozilla's Firefox Mobile browser – can do, the team releases the first "Milestone Release" for the HTC Touch Pro.

A word of warning: This is a "Milestone Release" and is not the finished product. As Mozilla's Brad Lassey explains:

Our focus to this point has been to have a working, usable browser. To get there in a hurry we have punted in a few places, and I’d like to point a couple of them out. First is the update mechanism (both for the browser itself and for extensions). After installing this release, you will not be offered updates automatically, so please stay tuned for follow up releases. Also, we have disabled plug-in support. This is one of our high priority items going forward. Finally, as I mentioned before, there is no soft keyboard support. On an HTC Touch Pro, you’ll have to slide out the keyboard to enter a url.

Lassey also takes on the recent "leaked" versions of Fennec that were floating around. (See our own "There's a Mad Fennec on the Loose")

Over the last week and half there have been several blog posts and “news” articles floating around the internet about leaked Windows Mobile Fennec builds. This has been fairly entertaining to those of us working on the project for a couple reasons. First, the builds that these posts have pointed to are the builds that I pointed to on twitter. They were intended to be used by the developers working on the project (or anyone else willing to deal with really buggy software) to find bugs before we pushed anything out to the general public.

While today's Milestone Release isn't the finished product, it's the first time most of us are going to get a good hands-on with the mobile browser best positioned to take on mobile Safari. So, back up your phone (we'll say it again — back up your phone) go download the CAB file here (again, HTC Touch Pro only, for now), and get to playin'. Let us know in the comments how it's holding up for you.

Update: Looks like the browser loads just fine, but the actual, uh, browsing may not be going so fine. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Update 2: Mozilla's on the case, as its own Ben Combee notes in the comments. Thanks, Ben!

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