The Tech News Blog

November 14, 2014

Ads Go Live on Mozilla’s Firefox Browser

Mozilla ads

Heads up, Firefox users. Like it or not, ads are coming to your Web browser.

Mozilla on Thursday announced it is now rolling out ads within the browser on the desktop and mobile. The ads will show up next to the thumbnails of the sites you frequently visit when you open a new tab.

Mozilla is initially launching these sponsored tiles for two companies: CVS Health and The ads, plans for which were first announced in February, are live now in eight languages and 25 different counties.

Mozilla will indicate which tiles are sponsored, lest you think someone has been messing around on your computer and visiting the CVS Health website a lot. If you don't want to see the ads you can turn off the tiles feature by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner of the browser to access your preferences.

The decision to roll out ads comes after Mozilla late last year hired ad tech veteran Darren Herman to explore ways of bringing sponsored content to Firefox. Mozilla spent a year prototyping and experimenting with the feature before rolling it out this week.

June 11, 2014

$25 Firefox OS Smartphones Launching in India Soon

Firefox OS India

Mozilla's promise to release ultra-cheap smartphones in areas underserved by major U.S. players is taking shape: The company on Tuesday announced plans to bring its affordable Firefox OS devices to India in the next few months.

Sample devices using Spreadtrum chipsets are on display during this week's Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai, and will be released via mobile device brands Intex and Spice.

"This partnership with Mozilla showcases our commitment to providing the best technological innovations first-hand to our customers," Spice CEO Dilip Modi said in a statement. "These phones will be affordably priced to ensure everyone can enjoy and experience the power of the Firefox OS phone."

Mozilla did not release exact pricing details, but at CES in January, the company promised a "flood" of $25 smartphones, so Indian consumers can probably expect the first Firefox OS handsets to carry a similar price tag.

"The [Firefox] platform will give us an edge in upgrading buyers from feature phones to smartphones, while making it affordable for the mass market," said Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, head of Index's mobile division. "This will propel our devices to be much more than a way to use the Web, but take the engagement further and develop the Web as a mobile platform."

March 16, 2014

Mozilla Scraps Firefox for Windows 8 ‘Metro’ UI Four Days Before Release

Firefox logo

So close, and yet so far.

Mozilla announced Friday that it has officially put a stake in its attempts at bringing its big browser, Firefox, to Windows 8 — at least, the touchscreen / Modern / Metro half of the Windows 8 experience.

It's a bit surprising of an announcement given the timing: The Modern UI version of the browser was scheduled to ship on March 18 with the release of Firefox 28. For those keeping score at home, that means that Mozilla officially pulled the plug on the browser but a few days before it was supposed to see the light of day.

The reason? Take a guess.

"In late 2012, when I started up the Firefox for Metro team (I know that's not what Microsoft calls it anymore, but it remains how we talk about it in Mozilla), it looked like the next battleground for the Web. Windows is a massive ecosystem and Microsoft pushes its new platforms hard. At first, it looked like we would be locked out completely. We eventually broke open Metro (though never the RT line of ARM-based products) and we got to work," wrote Mozilla's vice president of Firefox, Johnathan Nightingale, in a blog post.

"In the months since, as the team built and tested and refined the product, we've been watching Metro's adoption. From what we can see, it's pretty flat. On any given day we have, for instance, millions of people testing pre-release versions of Firefox desktop, but we've never seen more than 1000 active daily users in the Metro environment."

February 5, 2014

Firefox 27 Boosts Social Integration, Security

Firefox logoFirefox 27 is now available, and the new version builds on the browser's unique Social API, allowing you to run plugins for more than one social network at a time.

The updated browser also enhances security by enabling Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.1 and TLS 1.2 by default, since websites now commonly use these newer replacements for the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encrypted Web communication protocol. Firefox 27 also adds support for SPDY 3.1, a faster Internet communication protocol used by a growing number of websites.

Mozilla first added Firefox's Social API in version 17 of the browser last November. Joining the crucial Facebook social network as partner sites with Social API plugins are the Delicious link-sharing network and Saavn, a music player that's popular in India. These plugins are push-button easy to add to the browser, providing seamless interface integrations. The Facebook Messenger service can show a sidebar of Facebook updates, let you chat with friends, or share sites you're visiting. You can add the Delicious feature from that service's Tools page, and Saavn users can head to the service's music feed page.

August 18, 2013

Mozilla to Launch Metro-Friendly Version of Firebox on Dec. 10

Firefox logo

If you've been waiting for a final Windows 8 Metro version of your favorite Web browser – assuming that's Mozilla's Firefox browser – then you have a bit longer to go, but there's hope in sight.

According to new notes from Mozilla's most recent Firefox planning meeting, the company plans to launch a version of the browser for Windows 8's "Metro" UI (technically, Windows 8's "new Windows User Interface," since Microsoft officially retired the "Metro" terminology for its tile-based design some time ago). The "preview release," as Mozilla dubs it, will officially arrive as part of the company's Firefox 26 release on December 10.

If you're looking to get your hands on a Metro-ized version of Firefox even earlier, however, you can always check out the new browser iteration by grabbing the Aurora build of Firefox on September 16. It's at that point that Mozilla will merge Firefox Metro into the "Aurora 26" variant of Firefox. While that means quicker access to features, it's also one of Mozilla's more unstable environments for browser releases – which is to say, don't be surprised or upset if your pre-beta browser starts getting funky.

Mozilla intends to push all Aurora features into the Beta channel on October 28 – a bit more of a stable environment for potential testers to play around with, given that Mozilla will be spending its time between September and October fixing and polishing features.

May 28, 2013

Mozilla, Foxconn Teaming Up, Reportedly for Firefox OS Tablet

Mozilla Firefox OS

Mozilla and Foxconn will hold a joint press event in Taipei next Monday, where the firms are rumored to be unveiling a new Firefox OS mobile gadget.

"We can confirm there is a joint press event hosted by Mozilla and Foxconn next Monday in Taipei City," a Mozilla spokesman said. "All announcements will be made at this event and we have no further information to share at this time."

Reports about a device from Mozilla and Foxconn (also known as Hon Hai) first emerged this morning in a report from Reuters. The news service said the firms are prepping a Firefox OS-based gadget that will reportedly be a tablet, according to Focus Taiwan.

The event is scheduled just prior to the start of Computex, the annual consumer electronics conference that runs from June 4-8 in Taipei.

Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

March 26, 2013

Windows 7, Chrome, Firefox Most Popular, Says Security Survey

Independent lab tests of antivirus products are essential to making an informed selection. We wouldn't want to just rely on each vendor to tout the merit of their own products; they'd all be five-star winners. But it's also important that the labs pay attention to the people who rely on these tests. AV-Comparatives surveys users every year to see what kinds of tests they consider most important, check on their OS and browser preferences, and gather other useful information about the public's understanding of computer security issues.

This survey specifically excluded respondents who work in the computer security industry, focusing instead on ordinary users around the world with enough interest in security that they visited the AV-Comparatives website. Researchers also used statistical filtering to detect invalid responses or attempts to deliberately skew the results.

March 12, 2013

Mozilla Has No Plans for Firefox iOS App

Firefox logo

Apple fans shouldn't hold their breath for a dedicated iOS Firefox browser, according to Mozilla's Jay Sullivan.

During a mobile browser wars panel at SXSW, Mozilla's vice president of product said that until Cupertino adjusts its attitude toward third-party browsers, Firefox will avoid Apple's iOS.

Mozilla's biggest problem lies in the inability to carry over its sophisticated rendering and javascript engines to iOS, CNET reported. "Essentially, the organization doesn't feel like it can build the browser it wants to for Apple's platform," Sullivan told CNET, which moderated Saturday's panel.

"Due to constraints with the environment and distribution, we cannot provide users the full Firefox experience on iOS at this time," Sullivan said in an emailed statement to PCMag. "We will continue experimenting with new technologies that move the Web forward and keep the user in control."

Apple's rules forbid browsers that don't use its version of WebKit, and prevent users from setting any non-Safari app as their default browser. Apple's Safari currently has more than 55 percent of the mobile/tablet browser share, according to Net Applications. Mozilla holds 0.01 percent.

February 24, 2013

First Firefox OS Phones Launching in 9 Countries, U.S. in 2014

Firefox OS at MWC

BARCELONA - It's happening! Mozilla and a slew of mobile operators announced tonight at Mobile World Congress that the first Firefox OS phones will launch this year in nine countries, with others to follow. The U.S. will probably come in 2014, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs said.

Rather, the first Firefox OS phones, built by Alcatel, LG, and ZTE, will appear in Brazil, Colombia, Hungary, Mexico, Poland, Serbia, Spain and Venezuela, Mozilla said. Phones from Huawei will follow later, as will other country rollouts.

Mozilla showed off two phones at the event: the Alcatel One Touch Fire and the ZTE Fire. All the demos were done on the ZTE model, though, and even that wasn't entirely functional. Still, though, we will have an in-depth, eyes-on preview of Firefox OS on the ZTE Fire shortly.

Deutsche Telekom said the Alcatel One Touch Fire will go on sale in Poland this summer, with more Eastern European countries following in 2013. Telefonica added that it plans to launch in all of its markets by 2014.

In the U.S., Sprint has expressed support, but didn't come to the press conference or announce a device.

"Most of [Firefox OS's] growth is going to come from the emerging world," Kovacs said. "That's today where the Firefox OS devices will largely be aimed. As follow-on versions come, we'll ascend to the rest of the world and to different levels of consumer," he said.

January 22, 2013

Mozilla Unveils Firefox OS Developer Phones

Firefox OS Dev Phones

Mozilla today unveiled two new developer preview phones that feature the browser maker's Firefox OS.

The phones - dubbed Keon and Peak - are being developed via Spanish phone maker GeeksPhonein partnership with Telefonica.

"This week we are announcing our new Firefox OS developer preview phones because we believe that developers will help bring the power of the web to mobile," Mozilla said in a blog post.

The Keon (above) is described as "light and versatile but also powerful." It features a 3.5-inch touch screen, 3-megapixel camera, and 4GB of storage, as well as MicroSD, MicroUSB, Wi-Fi, GPS, and more. It runs a 1-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 and a 1580mAh battery.