Firefox for Android Beta Makes Browsing More Customizable, Adds Private Browsing

Shannon Prior

The latest release of Firefox for Android Beta is ready for download and testing. Firefox for Android Beta adds a new private browsing mode, customizable home screen shortcuts and extended support for ARMv6 phones.

  • Per-tab private browsing: Firefox for Android Beta comes with new per tab private browsing, allowing you to switch between private and standard tabs within the same browsing session. Private Browsing helps protect your privacy online and provides greater control over your personal data by allowing you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited. Private browsing data will not show up in your AwesomeBar History or Awesome Screen shortcuts.
  • Customizable shortcuts on the home screen: Now, you can customize the shortcut images on the home screen with your favorite or most frequently visited sites so they are only a click away. Tap and hold your top sites, tap “pin,” and you’re ready to go.
  • ARMv6 Expanded Support: Firefox for Android Beta adds support for additional ARMv6 processor devices. This update brings Firefox for Android Beta to roughly 25 million more devices. Firefox for Android Beta is now available to phones with minimum requirements of 600MHz, 384MB, QVGA. New devices supported include: Samsung Galaxy Next (GT-S5570, GT-S5578), HTC Aria (S31HT), HTC Legend (A6363), Samsung Dart (SGH-T499), Samsung Galaxy Pop (SCH-i559), Samsung Galaxy Q (SGH-T589)

For more information:

Firefox Beta includes Per Window Private Browsing


An update to Firefox for Windows, Mac and Linux is ready for download and testing. Firefox includes a new feature for private browsing, a new experience for downloads, and a handful of exciting developer features.

  • Per Window Private Browsing Mode: Firefox makes it possible for you to view a Web page in private browsing mode and regular browsing mode simultaneously, in two separate Firefox windows. You can easily open a link in a new Private Browsing Window, just right click on any link and choose “Open Link in a New Private Window.”
  • Updated Firefox Download Manager: Firefox makes downloading content from the Web even easier. You can view and monitor download progress right in the Firefox toolbar rather than a separate window.

Download Manager

  • Plug-in warning: When a plug-in hangs for more than 11 seconds, Firefox will notify you so you can restart the plugin rather than restarting Firefox, allowing you to keep browsing the Web, uninterrupted.
  • getUserMedia: A new HTML5 DOM API that allows the browser to capture local camera and/or microphone streams directly, without the need for third party plugins . It allows JavaScript developers to quickly and easily write code to access the user’s camera or microphones. gUM is the first API component of WebRTC, which enables real-time, interactive, peer-to-peer audio/video calls and data sharing.
  • Developer Toolbox: Firefox Beta now includes the developer toolbox, providing quick access to popular developers tools such as the Web Console, Debugger, Inspector and Style Editor in one handy window.
  • Canvas Blend Modes: Canvas Blend Modes allows developers to define how they want canvas to draw an image over an existing image, for example by changing pixel color values to create different visual effects.

For more information:

One Developer, One Impressive 3D Game Demo Ported to the Web with No Plugins


At Mozilla, our goal is to make Firefox the best game development platform possible and help realize the power and potential of the Web for everyone, everywhere.

One of the best aspects of working on a team that is producing open source solutions is seeing what people do with it. We continue to be amazed by how people leverage the technology that we share with them, specifically when it comes to video games.


Back in August, 2012, Mozilla Games developed a demo called BananaBread that provided a glimpse of the promise of highly responsive 3D games on the Web with no plugins. We demonstrated how to cross compile C++ code and convert it into a web application using a tool we developed called Emscripten. The demo was aimed at inspiring developers and others that the Web was more capable than they believed.

One individual saw this and emailed us to learn more. His name was Anthony Liot and he works for ACTISKU, creator of 3D real-time marketing solutions. He works with a 3D engine called Unigine. This engine was developed with multi-platform capability and is used in games, simulation, visualization and virtual reality systems and other projects including UNIGINE’s benchmarks (Heaven, Valley and others) and Oil Rush naval strategy game. Anthony, passionate in his search for a way to bring great 3D graphics with no plug-in to the Web, decided to see if he could successfully port this engine to the Web.


Over the course of several months, Anthony exchanged e-mails with Alon Zakai, the lead developer of Emscripten, with updates. Working on his own to port a very large and intensive code base, he only needed minimal support from Mozilla. This included the occasional questions or bug fix requests to the Emscripten cross compiler. His progress was constant and with each new demo, the quality of the rendering continually improved. Today, ACTISKU and Unigine are sharing Anthony’s work with the public, using a well-known benchmark demo developed by Unigine, it demonstrates just what can be done using such technology. I hope you will find the results as impressive as we have.

The following real-time demo is visually stunning. Crypt, the name of the demo, is a non-interactive benchmark that was designed to make sure that all of Unigine’s rendering engine is working on a new platform. This is a solid first step towards getting the full Engine ported over, we look forward to what the future holds for such 3D projects on the Web!

Check out this impressive 3D demo and let us know what you think.

You can join the conversation on our IRC server at, channel #games.

Or sign up for the mailing list at

Links to related posts

- Actisku – About the demo

- Unigine – About the 3D Gaming engine

Capture local camera and microphone streams with getUserMedia – now enabled in Firefox


getUserMedia (navigator.mozGetUserMedia), also affectionately known as gUM, is now enabled by default in Aurora. Why is this so awesome?

gUM is a new HTML5 DOM API that allows the browser to capture local camera and/or microphone streams directly, and not through third party plugins. This means JavaScript developers can now quickly and easily write code to access the user’s camera or microphones (with the user’s permission, of course) without having to install anything because the support is already inside the browser.

We still currently prefix gUM as mozGetUserMedia because the standards committee is not yet done defining it. So, gUM demos that work with Chrome (using the navigator.webkitGetUserMedia call) will need to be modified to include the moz prefix.

Here’s a simple example of how to use the new gUM API. My four-year old and her Firefox bear (both interested in becoming active contributors to the Firefox project) really like this page:


gUM is also the first API component of WebRTC, which enables real-time, interactive, peer-to-peer audio/video calls and data sharing. The other big pieces of WebRTC, PeerConnection and DataChannels (a Mozilla first), still have some rough edges we’re smoothing out, but will also be enabled by default soon. You can try them now in Nightly or Aurora 20 by browsing to about:config and changing the media.peerconnection.enabled pref to “true”.

We know gUM is a powerful new tool that will make the Web even more incredible, and we’re thrilled to enable this new functionality in our browser.

- Maire Reavy, Product Lead, Firefox Platform Media

Mozilla tests a built-in, secure, PDF viewer in Firefox Beta leveraging the power of HTML5


pdfjsFirefox Beta now includes a safer, more seamless cross-platform experience for viewing PDF documents. For those of you who have not been following the project, here’s some background.

For a number of years there have been several plugins for viewing PDF’s within Firefox. Many of these plugins come with proprietary closed source code that could potentially expose users to security vulnerabilities. PDF viewing plugins also come with extra code to do many things that Firefox already does well with no proprietary code, such as drawing images and text. These problems, and the desire to push the boundaries of the HTML5 platform, led Andreas Gal and Chris Jones to start a research project they named PDF.js. The project quickly picked up steam within Mozilla Labs, where it grew into a full-fledged PDF viewer.

Today, the PDF.js project clearly shows that HTML5 and JavaScript are now powerful enough to create applications that could previously have only been created as native applications. Not only do most PDF’s load and render quickly, they run securely and have an interface that feels at home in the browser. As an added benefit of using standard HTML5 API’s, the PDF viewer is capable of running on many platforms (PC’s, tablet, mobile) and even different browsers. Last, performance will only get better as JavaScript engines and rendering performance continue to improve in browsers.

You can try PDF.js now by downloading Firefox Beta and filing any bugs you find here. The PDF.js powered viewer in Firefox Beta is the first step to it becoming a fully integrated feature within the release version of Firefox so its benefits can be enjoyed by all Firefox users. The PDF.js team is always looking for contributors to help improve our open source, community driven project. See our github page for more information on contributing to the project.

Thanks to all those currently contributing to the project, without them this project wouldn’t have been possible.

- Bill Walker, Engineering Manager & Brendan Dahl, Software Engineer

Firefox for Android Beta Adds Additional ARMv6 Support


A new Firefox for Android Beta is available for download and testing. This update makes Firefox for Android available to roughly 15 million more phones with additional ARMv6 support. Firefox for Android Beta is now available to phones with minimum requirements of 600MHz, 512MB, HVGA. This includes popular phones like LG Optimus One, T-Mobile myTouch 3G slide, HTC Wildfire S and ZTE R750.

Firefox for Android Beta includes easy-to-use add-ons that let you change the look of Firefox without getting in the way of your Web experience. You can personalize the look of your Firefox in just a few taps: visit on your Android device, tap the “Personas” tab, select your favorite theme, and then save it to your browser by pressing “Keep it.” New (and old) themes will be automatically saved so you can easily change the look of Firefox any time.

Firefox for Android Beta also includes Firefox Integration in the Google Search Widget. Now you can launch a Google Search in Firefox for Android Beta, directly from your phone’s homescreen to make it easier and faster to search the Web on your mobile phone. To enable, tap the “Menu” button on your Android device, tap “Add” in the Menu, and then select Firefox under “Widgets.”

Firefox for Android Beta brings an amazing Web experience to even more people with Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese language support.

For more information:

In-Browser PDF Viewer powered by HTML5 and JavaScript Ready for Testing in Firefox Beta


A new Firefox Beta for Windows, Mac and Linux is now available for download and testing. This update introduces a native PDF viewer for initial testing that eliminates the need for third-party plugins for a smoother and more secure browsing experience.

Firefox Beta helps developers test Firefox for Android or Firefox OS mobile Web apps from the desktop browser. To enable remote debugging, set devtools.debugger.remote-enabled to true.

For more information:

Per-window Private Browsing in Nightly

Asa Dotzler

One of the most often requested features in the private browsing support for Firefox has been the ability to open a private window without closing the entire session. Over the past 19 months, we have been working on a plan to rewrite the private browsing code to do just that. I’m happy to announce that the first experimental builds will soon be landing on the Firefox Nightly channel, which you can download here:

First of all, let’s look at a couple of screenshots:

This feature let’s you keep your existing Firefox window when you open a new private window.  We have also added a frequently requested feature to allow opening a link in a private window.  In order to do this, just right click on any link and choose Open Link in a New Private Window.

In order to make this possible, we have redesigned the existing private browsing mode from scratch.  This was a huge project, and we received a lot of help from the Mozilla community, without which this would not have been possible.  We would like to thank everyone in the Mozilla community who helped us with implementing this feature; and a huge thanks to Ehsan Akhgari for managing this project.

WebRTC makes Social API even more social


WebRTC is a powerful new tool that enables web app developers to include real-time video calling and data sharing capabilities in their products.  While many of us are excited about WebRTC because it will enable several cool gaming applications and improve the performance and availability of video conferencing apps, WebRTC is proving to be a great tool for social apps.  Sometimes when you’re chatting with a friend, you just want to click on their name and see and talk with them in real-time.  Imagine being able to do that without any glitches or hassles, and then while talking with them, easily share almost anything on your computer or device: vacation photos, memorable videos – or even just a link to a news story you thought they might be interested in – simply by dragging the item into your video chat window.

This has become a reality.  We’ve created a demo that combines our Social API and WebRTC.  You can talk and share in real-time, while chatting, as if your friend were in the same room.  Take a look at the video above, where our Chief of Innovation, Todd Simpson, runs you through some of these cool future features.

getUserMedia allows a developer to capture the user’s camera and microphone data (with the user’s permission) easily.  It was actually pretty complicated for a browser to capture camera or microphone data before getUserMedia.  Expect to see browser apps that can capture and readily manipulate camera data (think Instagram) popping up as this new technology takes off.

PeerConnection enables the audio and video calling.  It is secure, hassle-free, and peer-to-peer.  This means you can expect high quality, low delay, encrypted calls from one WebRTC browser to another.  This is also something that was incredibly difficult for a browser to do until now.  Prior to WebRTC, video calling applications were either stand-alone, isolated apps (like Skype) or browser plug-ins which lacked the tight connection to the browser internals to guarantee a good quality call.

We share data in WebRTC using DataChannels, which Mozilla is the first to implement.  DataChannels is a powerful component of WebRTC that can be used by itself or combined with an audio/video chat to send almost any data that the browser can access.

Please have a look at our demo video, which shows some of ways you can combine these WebRTC components. We currently support basic person-to-person video calling and data channels in Firefox Beta but it has to be turned on in about:config. Check out this post on Hacks if you’re interested in finding out how to do this and for more information about developing apps using WebRTC.  As always Bug reports are highly appreciated. Please file them on Bugzilla under “Product:Core”, “Component:WebRTC”.   We plan to add support for video conferencing apps, faster call connection, and additional audio/video options, so stay tuned for more on this.

We hope you’re as excited as we are to start seeing some of the awesomeness that WebRTC has to offer the Web.

- Maire Reavy, Product Lead, Firefox Platform Media

Firefox for Android Beta Improves Phishing and Malware Protection


A new Firefox for Android Beta is available for download and testing. This update makes mobile browsing faster and safer. Search suggestions make it easier for you to get what you want on the mobile Web, and improvements to phishing and malware protection keeps you safe from malicious websites.

  • Search Suggestions: Firefox for Android Beta suggests search terms as you type, to make navigating the mobile Web even quicker and easier. When you start Firefox you will see a box asking you to opt-in to search suggestions when you start typing into the AwesomeBar. Click “Yes” to enable. For your protection, search suggestions are conducted over a secure HTTPS connection.
  • Improvements to Phishing and Malware Protection: To protect users from malicious websites, Firefox for Android Beta warns users when they encounter websites that may be used for malware or phishing. Firefox for Android Beta presents you with a warning page and allows you to exit the operation before loading a potentially malicious website.

For more information: