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FennecLogo.jpg Firefox for mobile 2011 Roadmap
Owner: Jay Sullivan Updated: 2012-02-13
Firefox for desktop revolutionized the browser market by driving innovation and creating diversity, which opened the web to a new generation of users and applications, and inspired and empowered web developers. With the dramatic shift from desktop computers to mobile devices, people are going online anywhere they go rather than browsing the web at home or at their office desk. However, most parts of the web are not optimized for mobile access. Until now. We want to deliver a product and services that do not only provide the best mobile web experience, but also set new standards: Firefox for mobile launched on Nokia’s Maemo Platform early 2010. Firefox 4 brings the Firefox experience to mobile devices running the Android operating system. This roadmap describes how the mobile web experience will evolve with new features and technology in 2011 and beyond.
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Firefox for mobile - Q1 2011 describes our status early 2011 with some details on our Android launch of version 4 and what our goals are for the first Android version of your mobile browser
Product Priorities for 2011 - for Users is a set of proposed features that we would like to introduce to Firefox for mobile within the next 12-18 months
Product Priorities for 2011 - for Developers is a view on important technical features for our developer community. My goal is to provide a great technical and support infrastructure for all our mobile engineers in the community and at Mozilla so we can launch some awesome features over the course of the next year.
Doing the right thing - Read this part if you like to know how we are getting guidance on product development, how we measure success, and how you can share your feedback and get involved.
Product Roadmap 2011 - is a proposed market delivery schedule based on the example project work laid out in previous sections
Looking (way) beyond 2011: Mobile Vision - what will the mobile web look like in the next few years, which trends do we see, how will user interactions shift
Feedback and Questions can be sent to tarend@mozilla.com - see section Doing the right thing for more ways to get involved.
More Info - Useful links for further reading

Firefox for mobile - Q1 2011

Firefox 4 for Android launched on March 29, 2011.
Read our official Blog Post or watch the video (mp4, webm, ogg, Youtube)

Product Priorities for 2011 - For Users

I would like to propose a set of user-facing features that we should introduce to Firefox for mobile within the next 12-18 months:

  • Constant Perf improvements - a browser can never be “too fast”. We will constantly working on reducing startup time, minimizing memory footprint, CPU requirements, and battery usage, speeding up page rending and JavaScript time and 2D and 3D media and audio rendering performance, etc. You will see improvements with every new release.
  • Usability - we have many ideas on how to make a mobile browser even better to use and more personalized to the needs of a user in a specific context. We are particularly planning on optimizing mobile web access on larger mobile devices like tablets and devices with external screens (enlarging icons, optimizing font sizes, using new UI paradigms for portrait vs. landscape, optimized access to tabs and fast access to relevant web pages), and also useful features like full copy & paste and plug-in support.
  • Readability and Accessibility - we want to make it easy to read and interact with even the most complex web pages and services easily on small devices. Part of this is optimized readability of articles and also the smooth switch between different input and output modes, e.g. from keyboard to voice input and from small screen to voice output.
  • Web Apps - in 2011 and 2012 the boundaries between native phone apps and web apps will blur. New standards are going to define what a web app is and how web app stores deliver new types of online apps to users. Firefox for mobile drives this innovation and innovates with new standards quickly and seamlessly for the best user experience. We are working on ideas to integrate more with phone apps and to share and synchronize web apps across devices. Imagine you start a Scrabble game from your desktop. You will be able to take it with you anywhere you go by using the same game app on all your mobile devices that run Firefox for mobile. Needless to say that you can continue where you left off, and that you can invite your friends to join you from any platform.
  • Sharing - the mobile web is more social than ever. We want users to share their geolocation and other sensor data from their mobile device with trusted friends and with web pages and applications safely, easily, and in real-time, while completely respecting your privacy. Firefox for mobile integrates seemlessly with the Android sharing mechanism and may add features of Mozilla F1.
  • Media Support - we want to provide the best mobile audio and video experience based on open web standards like HTML5, OGG, theora, WebM, etc. For the best mobile 2D and 3D game, graphic and video experience, we will support WebGL and also OpenGL Hardware Acceleration on all supported devices.
  • Add-ons - the mobile web community has already developed hundreds of add-ons for Firefox for mobile. But you want more! Our goal is to provide the add-on engineering community with great tools to quickly develop awesome desktop and mobile Firefox add-ons.
  • Firefox Sync - you can already sync your data with all your Firefox instances across your desktop and mobile devices. We are planning to add more services to sync to make your browsing experience completely seamless and to allow you to type less and browse more, especially on mobile devices. Start reading that article and listening to that audio-stream at your desktop, get up and continue reading and listening exactly where you left off.
  • Integrate Firefox Home - Firefox Home brings the best of Firefox Sync to iPhone users. In 2011 and 2012 we are planning a major overhaul of Firefox Home to eventually turn the application into a web service. In parallel, we want to integrate core parts also into Firefox for mobile for Android devices to harmonize the user experience and to make switching devices as easy as child’s play.
  • Device Support - we test Firefox for mobile on all major mobile devices on Android, and we keep an eye out on new devices and trends so we make the mobile browser compatible with all new and popular devices and possibly also on other platforms. In 2011 and 2012 we will see a sleuth of new Android devices and form factors. Some don’t meet minimum hardware requirements, unfortunately. Our goal is to provide Firefox for mobile on the widest range of capable devices.
  • Privacy - we want to keep mobile web users always safe and protect their privacy, like you are used to from the desktop version. We already have site certificates, security warnings, popup control, etc. In 2011 and 2012 we will provide more features for secure private browsing and device sharing as well as spam and popup control, malware and phishing protection, and support for the “Do Not Track” privacy feature.
  • Web Identity - imagine you would never have to memorize a single password but you could log in to all web services like your web mail, your social network, address book, bank, shopping sites, etc. with one single id and password - in a safe and reliable way. Techies call this “Single sign-on”, we call it “Mozilla ID” - read more here. Firefox for mobile will fully integrate with Mozilla ID so you can forget typing those user names and passwords on your tiny on-screen keyboard.

Product Priorities for 2011 - For Developers

In 2011 and 2012 we like to engage even more with our mobile developer community. My goal is to provide a great technical and support infrastructure for all our mobile engineers in the community and at Mozilla so we can launch awesome features quickly. A set of new technical features will soon make web apps more attractive than native apps:

  • Device APIs will enable access to phone sensors and functions (like camera, microphone, accelerometer, bluetooth, NFC, PIM, etc.) within mobile web apps to allow developers to create apps based on the web that are more functional and awesome than native apps
  • Indexed Database API and offline storage - Firefox for mobile will support the IndexDB standard as described in http://dvcs.w3.org/hg/IndexedDB/raw-file/tip/Overview.html
  • HTML5 online/offline events
  • Touch events allow smart user interaction and switching between browser navigation (e.g. swipe, pan, double-tap to zoom) and web content (e.g. drag & drop, double-tap to set location., etc.)
  • Graphic: CSS transitions, HW compositing, 2D, 3D support make for the best web design and gaming support
  • Video: WebGL and OpenGL (hardware acceleration) support for the best and fastest mobile video experience on all supported devices
  • Add-on support: most add-ons should be restartless. Mozilla JetPack could help eventually with extension compatibility across desktop and mobile.

Doing the right thing

How are we getting guidance on product development? How do we measure user satisfaction and success? And how can you share your feedback and get involved?
At Mozilla we have a great tradition of listening to our users and the awesome community of developers which have helped our users in the past to take back the web. We have many channels for input and communication from and between users, developers, community members and people here at Mozilla. You can check out http://support.mozilla.com or click “Get Help” or “Give Feedback” right from within Firefox for mobile.
In 2011 we are planning an even closer link to our users by bringing Mozilla Test Pilot to the mobile browser (https://testpilot.mozillalabs.com/). This allows users to sign up for experiments which help us understand how new features work for them and what we can improve. Mozilla Input (http://input.mozilla.com) is another important channel that shows us trends in user feedback and satisfaction easily.

But, how do we really know that we are headed into the right direction? 

Simple: we need *your* guidance. Whether you are an app developer, web guru, community member, user, or all of the above - please share your ideas and get involved:

You can always contact our team at FirefoxforAndroid@mozilla.com, email me directly at tarend@mozilla.com, or check out http://www.mozilla.com/mobile/getinvolved/ to get involved, to contribute your ideas and questions, to connect with our team and with the Firefox for mobile community.

Product Roadmap 2011

This is a proposed market delivery schedule based on the example project work laid out in previous sections. Please note that features and time lines are projections and a basis for discussion, not a final commitment to a specific delivery date or release sequence, yet:

Firefox 4 for mobile - Firefox for mobile on Android - Q1 2011

  • Features
    • The first version of Firefox for mobile on the Android platform supports a broad range of mobile phones and tablet devices and sets new standards for the mobile web: tabbed browsing, Add-ons, Firefox sync, Awesome Bar, location-aware browsing, and many other features make for a seamless web experience across all desktop and mobile devices - see http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/mobile/features for details

Optimized ease-of-use and best tablet experience

  • Features
    • Tablet UI - Optimized design and user interaction for tablet users
    • Polish the UI
    • Discoverability - teach users how to access productivity features
      • Better first run experience -- walk people through the UI mechanisms
      • Tool tips - to guide users to new features, such as the side-panes, discovering sync and bookmarks, awesome bar
    • Personas
      • Have user select a persona during first run
    • Support for all language packs
    • Privacy - a standard set of features to protect the user’s privacy and to make privacy settings easy to discover and manage (e.g. blocked web sites and pop-ups, certificates
    • Android Platform Fit & Finish
    • Video
    • Hardware accelerated compositing
  • For Developers:
    • Offline storage (IndexedDB)
    • Touch events (is this going to be standardized enough for ff5)
    • WebGL
    • Camera API
    • Investigate loading webcontent in iframes in chrome
    • Pin pages in the app cache
  • Make mobile AMO site awesome

Integration with Firefox Home, Mozilla ID

  • Features
    • Integration with new Firefox Home functionality - for a seamless user experience between iPhone and Android phones
    • Desktop features - add printing, safe browsing, and other features that users are familiar with from the desktop version of the browser
    • Account management and privacy - add advanced privacy features
    • Mozilla ID - integrate with Mozilla ID (see above) for secure single-sign-on on the web and full password control
    • Sync and manage add-ons through AMO - rather than storing add-on information on the device only, store this info safely in the cloud. Advantage: easy upgrades and simple switch between devices, sync of add-ons and preference across devices, e.g. from Desktop Firefox to Firefox for mobile
  • For developers:
    • Super-fast CSS transitions

Integration with Web Apps and social

  • Web Apps and Web App Stores - integrate in mobile browser for easy and real-time access of web content and apps across devices
  • Full 2D Hardware Accelleration - for best performance on all devices that support OpenGL, for web video and for mobile gaming
  • Multi-core support - supporting high-speed multi-core processors and special graphic chips
  • Billing and Payment - secure and easy micro-payment integration, e.g. for purchasing web-apps
  • Mobile / Web Wallet - secure interaction with merchant sites and points of sale using payment and personal information (e.g. credit cards, loyalty cards, web passwords) stored safely and using mobile features like NFC
  • Advanced sharing - share web content and application data easily and safely with your social graph

Mobile Web Innovation

Obviously, there are many cool things we are trying and considering, all focused on mobile web users and new device features. here are some examples possible directions:

  • Optimized social interaction between (mobile) web users including advanced sharing and secure business transactions
  • Web App integration and recommendations based on social graph
  • Seamless web media experience - continue reading that article, listening to that podcast or viewing that online video right where you left off on a different (connected) device.
  • New user interaction using 3D interfaces for fastest web navigation and information exchange

Firefox X for mobile (beyond Version 8) - The browser moves to the web

This is obviously highly controversial and not more than a disruptive idea at the moment. And there are many other thoughts on how mobile web browsing and how Firefox may evolve in the next few years:

  • Platform and Services - the browser as web rendering engine and access point to the internet transitions into a set of Mozilla platforms and services which make for a device-independent online experience supporting privacy, security, web identity, sharing, payment and billing, synchronization, etc.

More things being discussed:

  • Can and should Jetpack be used for easy creation of mobile (and desktop-compatible) add-ons?
    • Need to not ship SDK with each addon
    • Need to not have extra processes
    • Need to be small
  • Support for plug-ins like Flash
  • Stub installer
    • Small in size, helps user to configure the actual browser with desired languages, add-ons, personas, sync, upfront before installing:
    • Install the right language up front
    • Seamless background updates
    • Download the right build for your phone

Looking (way) beyond 2011: 24 Mobile Visions

Here are some thoughts on what the mobile web might look like in the next few years, which trends we see, and how user interactions will shift over time. This list is by no means complete. But it shows some of my thinking that may be the background to how we drive Firefox for mobile in the next two years: See http://bit.ly/mobilevision

More Info