Mozilla To Test Widevine CDM in Firefox Nightly To Facilitate Video Watching Online

Update, June 7, 2016: Support for Widevine video CDM is now available in the general Firefox browser release.

Update, April 27, 2016: Today, we will expand support of Widevine to our general release channel beginning in Firefox 47.

As we previously announced, Mozilla has been working to enable playback of HTML5 video content that requires DRM. Last year, we launched with Adobe’s Primetime CDM and now we will soon be testing Firefox support for Google’s Widevine CDM on Windows and Mac OS X. Firefox will download the CDM shortly after users first run Firefox after installing or upgrading. The CDM will be activated when users first interact with a site that uses Widevine.

Widevine support is an alternative solution for streaming services that currently rely on Silverlight for playback of DRM-protected video content. It will allow websites to show DRM-protected video content in Firefox without the use of NPAPI plugins. This is an important step on Mozilla’s roadmap to remove NPAPI plugin support.

The Widevine CDM runs in an open-source CDM sandbox in Firefox, providing better user security than NPAPI plugins.

For more information:

Shipping Some Firefox Features Outside of the Release Cycle

Four years ago, we updated the Firefox release process to the Train Model to move at the speed of the Web. More recently we improved the process further. We are now adding a mechanism to ship some features in Firefox even faster. This means it will take even less time for Firefox innovation and improvements to reach users.

Some features will now be shipped between release cycles, starting with Firefox Hello Beta. These modules are built into Firefox and delivered similarly to add-ons. This allows them to be updated more-frequently than the standard Firefox Rapid Release cycle.

This won’t interfere with our release cycle, which will still be used for most significant updates and users will only notice that some features, like Hello, are updated more frequently.

This is part of our ongoing commitment to continue delivering uncompromised quality in Firefox.

Viewing Cached Tabs Offline Ready for Testing in Firefox for Android Beta

We are testing a feature in Firefox for Android Beta that will display some Web pages even when you’re offline.

Firefox Android Beta Cached Tabs Viewing

If you’ve recently visited a site and it is still cached in the offline storage on your device, Firefox for Android Beta will display the stored offline version of the page instead of showing you an error. There’s no need to do anything to try this feature. You’ll notice that some pages you visit when you’re offline will still be displayed in Firefox for Android Beta, even when you aren’t connected to the Internet.

More information:

Discontinuing Rarely Used Firefox Features

We’re always looking for new ways to improve Firefox. Part of that process sometimes means that we need to remove features that aren’t used very much or support for platforms that are going away. This lets us concentrate our resources on finding new ways to delight Firefox users.

As part of this ongoing process, we are now removing Tab Groups from Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux. Users who want to keep this functionality can do so through add-ons that offer an identical functionality, explained here.

In Firefox for Android we are ending support for rarely used versions of the Android operating system. We have stopped support for Android OS version 3.0 through 3.2.6 (Honeycomb) and will soon end support for  2.3–2.3.7 (Gingerbread). Users can learn about versions of Android Firefox supports here.

We’ve tried to minimize any inconvenience for the few users affected by these changes. As always, please visit our Feedback Page to share your thoughts.

Update on Connected Devices Innovation Process: Four Projects Move Forward

The Internet of Things is changing the world around us, with new use cases, experiences and technologies emerging every day. As we continue to experiment in this space, we wanted to take a moment to share more details around our approach, process and current projects we’re testing.

We are focused on a gated innovation process that includes time to brainstorm solutions to real life problems and evaluate the market opportunity for these ideas. Additionally, we are aligning ourselves with users when it comes to simplicity, ease-of-use and engaging experiences, while ensuring everything is built with the Mozilla values of openness, transparency, privacy and user control at the core.

We have identified a shortlist of experiments as our first group of projects in need of community participation to help us develop, test and evaluate.  We’re excited to say that our first round of projects cover a wide range of potential solutions, as you can see below:

  • Project Link: Your personal user agent that understands your preferences for how you want to interact with the world of devices in your home, and automate your connected world for you. All of this still done conveniently and securely, but completely under your control.
  • Project Sensor Web: The easiest path from sensors to open data for contributors to collaboratively build a detailed understanding of their living environments. We are launching a pilot project to build a crowdsourced pm2.5 sensor network.
  • Project Smart Home: A middle ground between “in a box” solutions like Apple Homekit and DIY solutions like Raspberry Pi. Combining modular, affordable hardware with easy-to-use rules, Smart Home empowers people to solve unique everyday problems in new and creative ways.
  • Project Vaani: An IoT enabler package to developers, device makers and users who want to add a voice interface to their devices in a flexible and customizable way. We will prototype interactions at home in near term, and in future, showcase the ability to access services from the open Web.

We cannot do this without our dedicated and passionate community of developers and volunteers serving in an array of roles, as they are critical at ensuring each project has the best opportunity at making an impact. If you are interested in participating as a developer or tester, please click here to get involved.

We look forward to giving you updates on these projects as we continue to innovate with you all, out in the open.

Next Steps for Connected Devices

We recently announced a pivot for Firefox OS to Connected Devices and I’d like to share an update on the new product innovations we’re working on in the IoT space.

We’ve been working on a Product Innovation Process to identify our new IoT product programs. This process pushes us to think about early-stage ideas as if they were tech-startup projects where teams advocating for them are required to demonstrate a clear consumer value proposition at all points or “gates” in the development cycle: validation (whether there is a problem to solve), productization (whether there is a market fit), and scaling.

As of today, we have a good set of projects that have passed the first gate, including more SmartTV work (building on the success of our work with Panasonic in this space) and new opportunities such as FoxLink (a personal Web of Things) and Vaani. We’re working to open up this innovation process to non-staff participation soon.

Of course, Boot to Gecko (b2g) has been and will continue to be an open source operating system open to contribution.

We’re entering this exciting, fragmented IoT space to ensure users have choice through interoperable, open solutions, and for us to act as their advocates for data privacy and security. This is what we at Mozilla do best and it is indeed this intersection of opportunities and challenges that makes it the right time for Mozilla to focus on this new exciting phase of the Internet!

Firefox OS Smartphones and 2.6

We previously announced that we would stop offering smartphones through operator channels. The main reasons behind the decision were that we could not create a compelling and differentiating end-user value proposition and we failed to build the full ecosystem. Our team and community made an awesome push and created an impressive platform, but the circumstances were not there for Mozilla to win in the commercial smartphone game.

We’ve been working hard on the next steps of what that decision means for our work on future versions of Firefox OS as we prototype Connected Devices solutions. To support this strategic pivot, we are working on an end-of-life plan for the smartphone project with the Firefox OS 2.6 release. This planning also includes end-of-life for Firefox Marketplace across various platforms: smartphones, Firefox desktop and Firefox for Android.

Although Mozilla development of the smartphone OS will cease with 2.6, the OS stack will be used for Smart TVs and potentially other devices in the future. Our platform is open, as always, for volunteers, contributors and enthusiasts to improve on and submit patches for further advancement of the OS stack.

There is no change in our plans with Panasonic on their SmartTV line of products. We are excited to continue working with them on a SmartTV experience based on the Firefox OS 2.6 release and beyond. We will also continue our efforts to create a strong web-based content offering on SmartTVs.

All the hard work and resulting code are a good contribution to our future work on Connected Devices and to the Web as a platform. With them both, we added more than 30 WebAPIs and proved the Web is flexible enough to support products from smartphones to TVs — it also stands as a great starting point to proceed to the next phase of Connected Devices.

Update on 2016 Firefox Release Schedule

Four years ago Mozilla moved to a fixed-schedule release model, otherwise known as the Train Model, in which we released Firefox every six weeks to get features and updates to users faster and move at the speed of the Web. We studied the process carefully and learned a lot. We have also identified additional areas for improvement and it’s time we iterate again.

We are moving to a variably scheduled six-to-eight week release cycle for Firefox. With this new release cycle, we will deliver the same number of releases per year but gain a few significant benefits over the previous six week fixed model.

For example, we will now be able to adjust release dates to respond to emerging user and market needs and provide at least six working weeks for every release. We also want to help support the well-being and connectedness of our global Mozilla community by specifically allowing time for holidays.

You’ll find the 2016 Firefox release schedule listed below and in the following Wiki.

2016 Firefox Release Schedule
2016-01-26 – Firefox 44
2016-03-08 – Firefox 45, ESR 45 (6 weeks cycle)
2016-04-19 – Firefox 46 (6 weeks cycle)
2016-06-07 – Firefox 47 (7 weeks cycle)
2016-08-02 – Firefox 48 (8 weeks cycle)
2016-09-13 – Firefox 49 (6 weeks cycle)
2016-11-08 – Firefox 50 (8 weeks cycle)
2016-12-13 – Firefox 50.0.1 (5 week cycle, release for critical fixes as needed)
2017-01-24 – Firefox 51 (6 weeks from prior release)

Note: Firefox ESR will continue to ship point releases on the same day that Firefox ships.

Help Test Firefox Hello Beta

Firefox Hello Beta is the global communications system built directly into a Web browser and we’ve worked with our partner Telefonica to add new features to Hello, thanks to your feedback.

Firefox Hello Beta on Windows, Mac and Linux now makes it easier to make decisions together by letting you browse and discuss a webpage with others instantly through Firefox. You don’t need an account or login to connect through text messaging or video chat while sharing any tab you’re browsing. You can use Firefox Hello Beta to organize an event with colleagues, prepare travel plans with friends or shop together with relatives.

browse-together-Firefox-Hello1To try Firefox Hello Beta, just go to a website that you want to discuss and click the Hello button Hello iconin the Firefox toolbar to share it.

1.    Click on the button that reads “browse this page with a friend”.

browse-with-friend22.     Next, copy the room link and send it to your friend, colleague or relative.

invite-friend3

As soon as the other person clicks the link they will join and be able to see the website you are sharing. Please help us test new features and share your feedback when prompted at the end of your Firefox Hello Beta session.

We’ll be adding more features to Firefox Hello Beta soon to help you make decisions together. Stay tuned!

More information:

Firefox 64-bit Web Browser for Windows Now Available

UPDATE 2017-08-14: 64-bit Firefox is now the default on 64-bit Windows.

On December 15, 2015 we released the 64-bit Firefox web browser for Windows 7 64-bit systems. This browser version offers gains in performance for Firefox users with 64-bit PCs. We’re pleased to offer it to users of Windows 7 and above who are looking for added performance for applications and games while running the Firefox web browser. This version offers improvements over the 32-bit version of Firefox.

Firefox 64-bit for Windows, by design, has limited support for plugins. Users will notice that certain sites requiring plugins that worked in previous 32-bit versions of Firefox might not work in this 64-bit version. As we’ve shared previously, Mozilla intends to remove support for most NPAPI plugins in Firefox by the end of 2016. (Update – Mozilla removed support for NPAPI plugins when it shipped Firefox 52 on March 7, 2017)

Download. Try It. Give Us Feedback. 

To download and install the Firefox 64-bit web browser for Windows go to the Firefox All Systems page. For the latest Firefox release, you can also go to the Firefox download page.

We’re counting on your feedback to continue improving Firefox with 64-bit support. You can also read up on Firefox 64-bit in our Support community.

More information: