Hs-on: Mozilla’s Firefox OS web apps hit Android with native-like capabilities

BY GreenBot Staff

Published 13 Jun 2014


Sick of ay? Android users can on dip into yet another app store. Mozilla recently announced that Firefox OS apps now run on Android. l you need is Firefox 29 for Android or higher you’re all set.

“Over the past few months, we have been working on providing a ‘native experience’ for Open b Apps,” Mozilla recently said on its Hacks blog. “at this means is that as a user, you can now manage your web app just like you would a native app.”

Installing an app from the Firefox etplace works just as you’d expect it to in any other app store. Tap an app’s install button it automatically downloads to your device. (paradiseweddingchapel) st like native apps, an icon shows up in your app drawer (but not your homescreen) after installation.

From there, tap on the icon fire up the app just as you would any other. ile I was downloading a few Firefox apps, okout for Android even treated Firefox apps like any other by scanning them for malware.

Unlike native Android apps that rely on the va programming language, Firefox OS apps are built with the same technologies used to create websites including HTM CSS, vaScript. is taking a similar tactic with its Chrome packaged apps for desktops.

ile the notion of running Firefox OS apps on Android is intriguing, the reality of these web-centric apps is sadly disappointing. They are far slower than native apps, the Firefox etplace is pretty scarce right now. rse, some apps are not even worth using.

Open the nkedIn lse news reading app from the Firefox etplace, for example, you’ll wind up on a web page encouraging you to download the Android or iOS app. That’s not really Mozilla’s fault mind you, as it is up to nkedIn to provide a dedicated ling page for Firefox apps. Still, it shows the current level of interest in Firefox OS from major online companies.

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Firefox etplace games could make better use of Android device screen sizes.

iting for games to load was very slow several failed to take advantage of the full screen size available to them on my Nexus 4. In portrait mode, a game called Rooftops—listed as popular in the Firefox etplace—took up a third of the device screen. Turning the phone on its side to lscape mode provided a much better experience, however. Another popular game called nguin p was oddly sized in both views.

Despite the success of the ay store, Android is generally friendly towards web apps. Thus bringing Firefox OS apps to Android seems like a good fit.

Mozilla’s overarching goal is to advance the open web convince developers to begin using stard technologies that work across a multitude of devices. This latest move is clearly another step down that path, highlighting the native-like capabilities of web apps. It’s too bad the performance of Firefox OS apps on Android is so hit–miss right now.

To get a taste of Firefox OS, download Firefox for Android visit the Firefox etplace to download apps to your device.