Feeds

Firefox support extended to older Android mobiles

Experimental builds for phones with ARMv6 chips

High performance access to file storage

The Mozilla Foundation would like to see its Firefox browser running on more mobile phones. But since almost no handsets ship with Firefox pre-installed, that means getting the software onto more of the phones that are already out there – even if they use older hardware.

Up until this Monday, the mobile version of Firefox has required Android 2.2 and hardware that includes an ARMv7 processor. But now, however, beta versions of Firefox now include experimental support for a limited selection of ARMv6 devices.

Those requirements are considerably more lax than Google's requirements for the Android version of its Chrome browser, which requires not only an ARMv7 processor but also Android 4.0.

"Given that 55 per cent of the 133 million Android phones out there run on the ARMv6 architecture, there are a lot of new people to whom we can introduce the open Web," Mozilla's Karen Rudnitski wrote in a blog post announcing the change, adding, "but we can't support every phone all at once."

Support for ARMv6 is fairly new for Firefox. Bleeding-edge nightly builds for the older architecture have only been available since July. But Mozilla is now ready to give the browser a trial run with a wider group of users.

For now, the beta browser will run on ARMv6 devices with a clock speed of 800MHz or better and with 512MB of RAM, which includes such older but popular phones as the HTC Status, Motorola Fire XT, Motorola XT531, and Samsung Galaxy Pro GT-B7510.

Rudnitski says Mozilla is planning a "phased approach" that makes the browser available to groups of phones at a time, to see what the appropriate baseline hardware requirements for the browser might be. Phones that still aren't supported by the ARMv6 build won't be able to download it from the Google Play store.

Even on supported models, however, the browser isn't guaranteed to run flawlessly. In fact, in many cases it won't work at all. Mozilla is treating the ARMv6 launch as very much an experimental test bed, and it is calling upon potential users to not only try it, but also provide feedback.

Users who try the new beta browser are encouraged to get in touch with the Mozilla Foundation either through its beta feedback page or by joining the Firefox for ARMv6 mailing list, and also to file bug reports through the usual channels. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.