THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION has released the latest beta of Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.
The latest Firefox 31 edition is aimed at developers with a number of new tools designed to make app and extension designers' lives easier.
Among these is a new canvas debugger that will enable developers to examine their graphics code frame by frame, along with a raft of improvements to the existing debugging features.
Mozilla has overhauled the tab screen and it now features a search bar for the first time, bringing it into line with Google Chrome, which recently overtook Internet Explorer as the worlds most popular web browser.
The biggest news, however, is the Android version. With Firefox OS gaining momentum, the latest beta of Firefox for Android contains a number of enhancements to the facilities allowing users to install Firefox OS web apps from its marketplace first previewed in version 29.
The Firefox for Android apps look and behave just like normal, sitting in the app drawer alongside your Android native apps. Ever since Android 4.4 Kitkat, web apps designed for Android have run on Google Chrome rather than the original Android Open Source Project (AOSP) web browser. The difference with Firefox OS apps is that they run in the Firefox for Android web browser.
The only requirement is that you have Firefox web browser installed too, a small price to pay for a potential new world of apps. Mozilla has already told developers that compliant apps will automatically be packaged into the .apk format, ready for installation on an Android phone.
While Mozilla is aiming for a worldwide launch, its primary focus will be developing markets where it plans to support a $25 smartphone. With Firefox integrated so neatly into Android, we wonder if Google I/O in two weeks will see Google make a move to do the same for Chrome. µ
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