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Mozilla gets orientation-friendly with Firefox 3.6

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The next iteration of Firefox will be able to detect the orientation of laptops and mobile devices that come loaded with accelerometers.

Mozilla said yesterday that Firefox 3.6 would carry support for web pages to read machine orientation details, if available on the device.

It created the device API to allow users to work out if a mobile computer or phone is moving and what direction it’s facing.

“Originally built as something that we would include for our upcoming mobile browser release, we’ve made it available on desktop systems as well,” said Mozilla wonk Christopher Blizzard.

“Many modern Macbooks and Thinkpads contain devices and drivers that expose this information. We’ve added support for Linux, Macs and some Thinkpads where drivers and devices are available.”

He added that some Macbooks detect the orientation information backwards, which is something Mozilla is also working on.

The device API is particularly nifty for rotating the user interface based on the orientation of a mobile device; it’s also a handy tool for web gaming.

A beta of Firefox 3.6 - codenamed Namoroka and based on Gecko 1.9.2. - is expected to arrive later today, assuming the Mozilla team hasn’t hit any last minute snags. ®

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