Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web, is demonstrating the latest advancements to its Firefox OS open mobile ecosystem at Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai. These include a turnkey solution for Firefox OS smartphones in the ultra-low-cost category that will bring devices to India in the next few months; the addition of Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan’s largest operator, to the global roster of operators supporting the Firefox OS initiative; and new phones from ALCATEL and ZTE coming to market.
Firefox puts you in control of your Web experience and is easy to customize so you can use the Web the way you want. You can make Firefox your own through the beautifully designed and powerful customization menu. You can add or move any feature, social integration service or add-on into the menu and when you’re done you can also choose from thousands of Themes to transform the look of your browsing experience.
Firefox is also first to make it easy for Facebook, Delicious, Weibo and others to integrate their services directly into the browser. Features like the Firefox sidebar, social sharing options and toolbar notification buttons help you stay connected with your friends and family via your favorite social networks no matter where you go on the Web. Now you can also add a new sidebar button into your customizable menu so access to social, bookmark and history sidebars has never been easier.
Today at Mozilla we find ourselves at a difficult spot. We face a choice between a feature our users want and the degree to which that feature can be built to embody user control and privacy. Here’s why.
People want to watch video, including movies and TV shows. Browsers must provide the ability to watch video or the browser becomes less and less the tool users need. A number of content owners (in particular film and TV studios) require technical mechanisms to reduce the ways in which people can use that content, such as preventing people from making copies. This technical mechanism is generally called “DRM” for “digital rights management.” Browsers must implement DRM in a way that makes the content owners comfortable. Otherwise they won’t allow their content to be viewed through that browser.
The industry is on the cusp of a new mechanism for deploying DRM. (Until now, browsers have enabled DRM indirectly via Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s Silverlight products.) The new version of DRM uses the acronyms “EME” and “CDM.” At Mozilla we think this new implementation contains the same deep flaws as the old system. It doesn’t strike the correct balance between protecting individual people and protecting digital content. The content providers require that a key part of the system be closed source, something that goes against Mozilla’s fundamental approach.
We are excited to announce that América Móvil has become the fifth major operator to release Firefox OS smartphones. América Móvil Alcatel ONETOUCH FIRE devices are now available throughout Mexico through Telcel. Mexico is the first country where América Móvil launches a Firefox OS device.
“With this launch, we will offer our users a new way of experiencing the possibilities that a smartphone has to offer, with affordable pricing and the experience of a Firefox OS operating system. We are certain that this partnership with ALCATEL ONETOUCH and Mozilla will continue delivering more options to our users throughout the continent,” said Marco Quatorze, Director of Value Added Services, América Móvil – Telcel.
“We are pleased América Móvil is joining the Firefox OS ecosystem with this initial launch,” added Andreas Gal, Chief Technology Officer at Mozilla. “This partnership greatly expands the reach of Firefox OS and will help us bring an amazing experience to even more first time smartphone buyers.”
Available in 15 markets around the world, Firefox OS delivers performance, personalization and price to entry-level and midrange smartphones. Firefox OS has all the things you need from a smartphone as well as the things you want like built-in social integration with Facebook and Twitter, HERE Maps with offline capabilities, much-loved features like the Firefox Web browser, the Firefox Marketplace and much more.
Firefox OS offers two ways to discover and utilize apps and content – the Firefox Marketplace and an adaptive app search that enables discovery and access to apps that users can instantly use once or download to keep. This innovative approach helps maximize data and storage usage. The Firefox Marketplace includes popular apps such as Cut the Rope, Pinterest, TimeOut and YouTube, and relevant local and regional apps like Chilango, CNN Expansión, CNN Mexico, Despegar.com, Easytaxi, El Universal, M3, Media Tiempo and Quien.
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But at a certain point we have to ask — if not enough people understand the way the web works, or why keeping it open is important, are we doing all that we can?
That’s why starting today, Mozilla is offering a series of four online courses designed to help everyone from formal educators to enthusiastic engineers learn how to teach the basic mechanics, culture and citizenship of the web.
The courses are peer-powered by P2PU, and are free, online, and open to anyone who wants to participate. You can sign up for one or take them all, and you can go at your own pace. It involves making things using Webmaker tools and connecting and learning with others. Much of the activity takes place in an online discussion forum, and we’ll also host weekly video hangouts and community calls for real-time networking and support.
The courses cover:
- basics of the web ecosystem;
- developing educational resources;
- open and participatory learning; and
- how to connect with and leverage similar communities around the world.
The courses are designed to lead into Mozilla’s Maker Party — our annual campaign, from July to September, during which volunteers from all around the world throw parties to celebrate and teach basic web literacy skills. Last year there were over 1700 events in 331 cities around the world.
Web literacy is a focus on understanding the web from a holistic perspective, and includes more than just the basics of code. Things like understanding what a URL is, how a browser works, what online privacy and security mean, how to protect your data, how to work in the open and collaborate with others, etc. create a broader frame within which we can educate and empower more people to help protect the web as our largest publicly shared resource.
How does it work?
- Mix and match. There are four different Webmaker Training modules to chose from. Each is a mini-course designed to help people teach and learn different aspects of Web Literacy. Take one, or take them all.
- Hosted by our friendly Mozilla Webmaker training team. With help from our global community of mentors, Peer 2 Peer University, and a new platform.
- Join live activities and get-togethers each week. Including a video session broadcast live on HOMAGO and archived on YouTube, and an open conference call to discuss the content and concepts.
Read the step-by-step details on how to participate.
ZTE announced today that sales of the ZTE Open C Firefox OS phone have started on eBay. Targeted at first time smartphone users and early adopters wanting to try out Firefox OS, the Open C offers a 3MP camera and 4-inch WVGA screen, and is the first commercially available phone running the latest version of Firefox OS.
Firefox OS smartphones are the first devices powered completely by Web technologies and offer all the things users expect from a smartphone like SMS, MMS, music, apps, maps with offline capabilities, social integration, and much-loved features like the Firefox Web browser.
The ZTE Open C will be the first phone with the latest update to Firefox OS, offering many new features including direct music player access from the lock screen or notifications bar and advanced Bluetooth sharing, allowing multiple files to be transferred simultaneously. Users can now navigate the phone quicker with smart folders which automatically arrange apps or app searches into categories, enhanced scrolling performance and faster system app (e.g. calendar, address book, camera) startup times.
The ZTE Open C Firefox OS smartphone, priced at US$99.99, is now available to eBay users in the US, UK, Germany, Russia, and many European countries. The phones won’t come preinstalled with any network specific apps or services and are unlocked global variants targeted at first time smartphone users and early adopters.
“We are pleased that ZTE is delivering another Firefox OS device, building on the success of the ZTE Open,” said Dr. Li Gong, Mozilla Chief Operating Officer. “The ZTE Open C is an amazing experience for first time smartphone buyers.”
“We’re excited that ZTE has again decided on debut its OPEN C on eBay,” said John Lin, CEO of eBay Greater China, “eBay, with its 145 million active buyers around the world, is uniquely positioned to help Chinese brands such as ZTE reach global consumers directly and expand worldwide.”
Mozilla is a non-profit organization driven by the mission of promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web. We work as a global community to build products like Firefox that embody the values of our mission and create more user control, flexibility and innovation on the Web.
In the nearly 10 years since we first launched Firefox, it has grown to be the trusted and most customizable browser of choice for half a billion people worldwide.
We reimagined and redesigned Firefox to reflect how you use the Web today and we are excited to introduce many features including an elegant and fun design, new menu, customization mode and an enhanced Firefox Sync service powered by Firefox Accounts.
The first thing you’ll notice in Firefox is the beautiful new design that makes it easy to focus on your Web content. The tabs are sleek and smooth to help you navigate the Web faster. It’s easy to see what tab you’re currently visiting and the other tabs fade into the background to be less of a distraction when you’re not using them.
The Firefox menu has moved to the right corner of the toolbar and puts all your browser controls in one place. The menu includes a “Customize” tool that transforms Firefox into a powerful customization mode where you can add or move any feature, service or add-on. This level of Firefox customization puts you in control of your Web experience and is unmatched by any other browser.
The new Firefox Sync service is a safe and easy way to take your Firefox everywhere. Firefox Sync gives you access to Awesome Bar browsing history, saved passwords, bookmarks, open tabs and form data across your computers and mobile Android devices. It is powered by Firefox Accounts and simplifies the setup and device syncing process.
We looked at every piece of Firefox and made everything more enjoyable and easier to use – even bookmarks. You can create bookmarks with a single click and manage them from the same place.
What’s New in Firefox:
- Elegant New Design: Sleek new tabs and an overall modern look that makes it easier to experience the Web the way you want.
- Customization Mode: Makes it easy for you to personalize your Web experience to access the features you use the most. You can easily drag and drop your favorite feature, tool or add-on in the menu or toolbar.
- Firefox Menu: Includes popular browser controls, features and add-ons in one place to make it easier and faster to access them. The menu is completely customizable so you can edit or add features you use most.
- Fun and Simple Bookmarks: You can create bookmarks with a single click and manage them from the same place.
- Easy Access to Add-ons Manager: Firefox includes an Add-ons Manager you can access directly from the menu to help easily discover and install add-ons.
- Enhanced Firefox Sync Powered by Firefox Accounts: Just create a Firefox Account and our sync feature makes it even easier to setup and add multiple devices with end-to-end encryption. Firefox Sync gives you access to Awesome Bar history, saved passwords, bookmarks, open tabs and form data across your computers and mobile Android devices.
Web Platform and Developer Tools:
- WebRTC: Firefox supports WebRTC, which enables video calls and file sharing between browsers.
- WebAPIs: There are now more than 30 Mozilla-pioneered WebAPIs, which unlock more functionality and features in the Web platform.
- Web Audio API: With Web Audio API, developers can now build robust audio engines capable of new features like positional audio and support for effects such as reverb, which can create immersive audio experiences on the Web, which is especially important for game developers.
- CSS Flexbox: The integration of CSS Flexbox in Firefox makes it easier for developers to build user interfaces that adapt to the size of the browser window or to create elastic layouts which adapt themselves to the font size. This is helpful when developers are trying to create a consistent user interface to their Website or Web app across desktop and mobile.
- App Manager: Brings the Firefox Web developer tools to mobile app developers, simplifying mobile Web app development with live prototyping and debugging of apps on Firefox OS phones directly from the desktop.
- Extension APIs: Developers using the Add-on SDK can now use the new button and toolbar APIs to easily integrate their add-on with Firefox’s new customizable toolbar.
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Firefox for Android is now even more customizable with new home screen and sharing features that make it easier to get to your favorite Web content faster.
We’re introducing Firefox Accounts to power the enhanced Firefox Sync, so you can take your Firefox everywhere. Firefox Sync is easy to use and helps you quickly and safely synchronize all of your data including passwords, open tabs, form data, history and bookmarks between your computers and Android phones and tablets.
You can customize the swipeable History, Top Sites, Bookmarks and Reading List menu of home screen pages and choose which one appears as your default. Your chosen home screen page appears automatically when you open a new tab or start a new browsing session so you can get to your favorite sites faster. You can also hide the pages you don’t use regularly or hide them all for a completely clean new tab experience.
Firefox for Android makes it easy to personalize and prioritize sharing content like articles, videos and images to the social sites you use most. Colorful icons now appear on the menu bar for your two top sharing services including Facebook, Twitter and your email to make it faster for you to share content with your friends and family.
Firefox for Android is now available in more than 30 languages with new languages coming soon.
At Mozilla, our mission is to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web and we do this by building trustworthy products and technology that give people more control over their online lives. Having a strong voice in the technology that underlies the Web platform and provides the foundation upon which the world builds products and services to bring that mission to life is critical.
Today, I am announcing the appointment of Andreas Gal as Mozilla’s new Chief Technology Officer.
Andreas will have responsibility for leading technical decision making, representing Mozilla externally on technology, and managing our R&D programs. He will also continue to serve as VP Mobile as we continue to focus our efforts on delivering and scaling Firefox OS.
As our CTO, Andreas’ passion for technical excellence will help advance our mission and strengthen the open Web, and I look forward to working with him closely in his new role.
Today, Mozilla announced the eight projects in Chattanooga and Kansas City that will receive funds from the first round of the Gigabit Community Fund. The Fund, supported by NSF and part of the broader US Ignite initiative, is investing in organizations and projects that utilize gigabit technology to serve educational systems, support educators in and out of the classroom, and impact student learning. Grantees across the two cities will receive a total of $134,600 for a 12-week pilot period beginning Monday.
Grantees will utilize the awarded funds to build and pilot gigabit-enabled applications and associated curricula that have immediate, measurable impact on classrooms and informal learning organizations in Chattanooga and Kansas City. Through these pilot projects, Chattanooga and Kansas City will become living laboratories in which to study how these next-generation networks can impact education and workforce development.
“A web with unlimited connectivity has unlimited potential—and can mean digital access, inclusion, education and workforce opportunity for an entire city,” said Chris Lawrence, Senior Director of Mozilla Webmaker Community and Hive Learning Networks. “As the leading gigabit economies in the US, Kansas City and Chattanooga are uniquely positioned to explore these possibilities. We’re excited to see what the grantees create.”
Gigabit Community Fund Grantees
The following projects received grants between $5,000 and $30,000:
- Remote Audio Mixing / Chattanooga Music Resource Center–for a collaborative, cloud-based music education app to be piloted with the Chattanooga Public Library and with Barger Academy of Fine Arts, a local public elementary school.
- Hyperlocal Hyperaudio / Hyperaudio–for a content remixing curriculum that uses locally produced content from partners including the Chattanooga Public Library, the Hunter Museum of American Art, the Public Education Foundation, and the Chattanooga History Center.
- Viditor / GeonCode–to pilot the launch of a new online video editor with digital art and design classes at Baylor School and at the Chattanooga Public Library’s teen center.
- Gigabots / Big Bang–to bring connected devices to robotics and into classrooms to teach kids how to share innovation in collaborative ways.
- 3D Multi-School Learning / aSTEAM Village–to utilize next gen telepresence technology to teach computer programming and video game design to students in a multi-school setting.
- Project Bright Spots / The Lean Lab–to use the gig as a collaboration tool, by enabling community dialogue around specific experiences that highlight local innovation in education.
- Augmented Reality / Bonner Springs Fire Dept.–for a specialized training system that equips first response trainees with Google Glass to share live video and real-time information during training and simulation scenarios.
- Gigabit Cafe / Reconciliation Services–to deploy the first public test of the “Software Lending Library” to bring gigabit internet connectivity to Reconciliation Services’ clients and neighbors.
You can read more about these projects at the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund Website. These 12-week pilot programs will run from April 28 to July 18. The application period for the next round of Gigabit Community Fund grants begins on May 12, for projects that will run from July 7 to September 26.
Cultivating Hive Learning Communities
Grantees of the Gigabit Community Fund will also become founding members of Gigabit Hive Learning Communities in both cities. These local communities of practice will function as “living laboratories,” working and learning together around community-driven goals. They also join a growing global Hive network that includes New York City, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto among others.
Members of the Gigabit Hive Learning Communities will participate in regular meet-ups and online forums, and through an openly networked approach, will share their planning, progress, lessons learned and best practices throughout and following the initial pilot period.
How to get involved:
- Submit an application for the next round of Gigabit Community Fund grants in Chattanooga and Kansas City.
- Attend KC and CHA community meetups and calls to stay informed and connected.
- Attend the US Ignite Application Summit in Silicon Valley June 24-27 to see demonstrations of several of these applications.
- Learn more about how to start a Hive Learning Community in your city.