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Firefox soon to release native interface for Android

The Mozilla Firefox user interface on Android will be developed under native code for faster performance and lesser memory consumption.

According to Johnathan Nightingale, director of Firefox engineering, in the company’s goal of supporting the open web, Firefox on Android is critical. Therefore, the decision of creating a native-Android Firefox user interface places them in a position to create the best Firefox possible.

Currently, Firefox uses the XML-based language dubbed as “XUL” that normally takes several seconds to start-up on certain Android phones. But once it runs on native user interface, it will only take fractions of a second for Firefox to start.

Aside from faster performance, the shift to native code will also entail a significantly lesser use of the phone’s memory due to greater responsiveness, explained Nightingale.

The user interface change that Firefox is working on will expand the browser’s efficiency of work to various user categories along with the browser adding more updates and code changes, which entails an even more convenient installation.

Although this change is neither expected to happen with the release of Firefox 8 next month nor on Firefox 9 during its December release.

The growth of Firefox’s market share has plateaued as rival Google Chrome continues to soar. The pressure for Firefox then ensues, which explains the series of upgrades and user interface code changes.

The XML-based language of Mozilla, known as XUL was developed allowing the creation of feature-rich applications that can be run on various platforms and also on disconnected mode.

On the other hand, the native development of Google’s Android started in 2009 with Android 1.5 native development kit. This kit allows the development of applications in native languages like the C and C++. The native development kit can run with a certain processor and is compiled with instructions regarding speed and performance improvement.

Thus, Android’s native browser makes it difficult for Firefox to develop plug-ins. The plug-in developers would have to go through different coding platforms to this extent. In this light, Nightingale said that they are making arrangements together with the Add-on SDK team so that they can figure out a way to best support extensions.

Nightingale said that he will update the outline of work for Firefox by next week after meeting with the team in Toronto, Canada.

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  • Elizabeth GillyPou

    I am thinking about getting the Android because of all the new features. Mozilla is my favorite browser and it is good to see them working with Android. Do you think the Android is the phone of the future?