Mozilla upgrades Firefox for Android to run on millions more devices


Mozilla released an overhauled version of its Firefox for Android that now includes support for smartphones incorporating ARMv6 processors and expands the browser's reach to millions of additional devices.

Although previous iterations of Firefox supported phones running Android versions 2.2 and higher, compatibility was limited to devices equipped with ARMv7 processors. According to Mozilla, roughly half of the 500 million Android devices activated worldwide run on ARMv6 architecture--adding support for ARMv6 extends Firefox to handsets including HTC's Status and ChaCha, Samsung's Galaxy Ace, Motorola Mobility's Fire XT and LG's Optimus Q.

The revamped Firefox for Android also touts integration with TalkBack, an Android screen reader designed to simplify Web access for visually impaired users, as well as Explore by Touch and Gesture Navigation features.

Firefox for Android is available as a free download from the Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Play storefront. In addition to support for Android 2.2 or higher, compatible devices require at least an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM.

Mozilla recently said it is developing a browser optimized for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad that is designed to replace the bestselling tablet's native Safari. Codenamed "Junior," the iPad browser delivers a full-screen browsing experience that eliminates the conventional toolbar in favor control buttons designed to offer a "magazine feel." Mozilla has not revealed a timetable for release.

Mozilla also is building its own Web-based Firefox mobile operating system, previously known under the working name Boot to Gecko. Mozilla and operator partner Telefónica plan to begin selling Boot to Gecko devices in early 2013, accompanied by the Mozilla Marketplace app storefront, which enables developers to create and distribute cross-platform applications optimized for any HTML5-enabled device. Along with Telefónica, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) also has pledged support for the Firefox OS, citing its potential for powering lower-cost smartphone options for prepaid, postpaid and wholesale customers.

For more:
- read this Mozilla Blog entry

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