Intel finds a way to let go of MeeGo

Here we go again. Like the Moblin operating system before it, Linux-based MeeGo will be merged out of existence.

MeeGo will become Tizen, Intel announced today.

"Intel joined Linux Foundation and LiMo Foundation in support of Tizen, a new Linux-based open source software platform for multiple device categories," the company said in a statement. "Tizen builds upon the strengths of both LiMo and MeeGo and Intel will be working with our MeeGo partners to help them transition to Tizen."

The initial release of Tizen is expected in the first quarter of 2012, enabling the first devices … Read more

Must-have Firefox mobile add-ons

One of Firefox's most popular features is its add-on support, with its accompanying deep add-on catalog. The new Firefox 4 Mobile for Android (download) and for Maemo devices (download) also support add-ons, so we've got a collection of Firefox mobile add-on essentials for you that covers the bases, from useful ad blocking to interesting, mobile-specific password helpers.

The best-known add-on that's a must-have is Adblock Plus (download), ported by the developer from Firefox desktop to mobile. If you're not familiar with it, it blocks ads by using blacklists to filter out the ads. Once installed, the … Read more

Features locked, Firefox Mobile revs its engine

If there were three words to describe Mozilla's biggest concerns with the mobile version of its browser, they would be: speed, speed, and speed. The company released today Firefox Mobile 4 beta 5 for Android 2.1 and higher and Maemo with no major new features or feature improvements, instead choosing to make this release about improving the browser's performance.

Mozilla is claiming noticeable improvements in start-up speed, page load speed, and JavaScript rendering speed. The company also said in its Firefox 4 Mobile beta 5 release notes that it intends to continue to focus on "reducing … Read more

Firefox on Android improves, but still bloated

After a slow start, Mozilla has cranked out another beta for the mobile version of its next-generation browser, Firefox Mobile 4 beta 4 for Android 2.1 and higher and Maemo that boasts faster page-load times, better JavaScript handling, reduced memory usage, and support for restartless add-ons that are currently making their debut in the desktop version of the Firefox 4 beta.

Along with those improvements, however, remains a massive app to install by mobile comparisons. This fourth beta is actually a third of a megabyte bigger than the previous beta, weighing in at a practically obese 13.70 MB … Read more

AMD joins MeeGo alliance

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices has joined the MeeGo open-source Linux project where it will contribute its expertise to drive the adoption of MeeGo in tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices.

Unveiled earlier this year, MeeGo is an open-source operating system created through a merger of Intel's Moblin OS and Nokia's Maemo software. The MeeGo OS is designed to run on mobile gadgets, including Netbooks, tablets and phones, and on embedded devices, such as connected TVs and in-car systems.

The MeeGo project is run by the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit group whose goal is to push the growth and … Read more

Firefox mobile browser gets new Android interface

We have to hand it to Mozilla: its mobile team has recently been hauling out tweaks and updates to its mobile Firefox browser for Android and (two) Nokia Maemo devices.

Mozilla unveiled the hotly anticipated Firefox for Android app (called Firefox 4 beta) early last month. It was a good first effort, but we balked at the beta software's huge installer, slower performance, and scrolling inefficiencies. We weren't the only ones, and Mozilla has gone to lengths to redesign its app in this second attempt.

Android-like interface Although we'll get around to the back-end changes, what really stands out is the app's visual overhaul on its default start screen. The design has remained static for so long, since its early days as the Fennec alpha for Nokia's Maemo platform in fact, that we can't help but blink.

The app, as viewed on a Droid Incredible Android phone, still retains the "Awesomebar" up top, but now opens with an all-new start page that carries a similar look and feel as other Firefox pages online. There's space to show previously visited tabs, promoted add-ons, and tabs from your other computers, assuming you use Firefox Sync. The start screen will henceforth be your first browser tab by default, though you can change this in the settings.

You'll also notice that pages are now organized differently to provide combined or separate access to your bookmarks, browsing history, and synced computer tabs. Mozilla has also added favicons, small icons that can help you visually identify a URL by a thumbnail representation of its site logo. The multiple search engines (like Google, Wikipedia, Amazon, and Twitter) have moved from the bottom of the interface into the search bar; you'll be able to switch among them after you start typing a query.

In addition to all we've mentioned above, the Firefox mobile team has polished up the design to make it better fit in with the Android look and feel. That means reshaped toolbar buttons, bubbly pop-ups, and reworked context menus.… Read more

Opera Mobile 10 now on Nokia phone, tablets--sort of

What do you get when you take a bunch of mobile browser developers and give them free run of the lab? A preview build of Opera's Mobile 10 browser running on the Nokia N900 and N800/N810 Internet Tablet.

Opera Mobile 10 for Nokia's open-source Maemo platform sprang to life as a hobbyist's thrill in the Opera Labs and is now being released, along with a laundry list of caveats, for intrepid testers. Opera stresses that this is no official Opera build. As such, it hasn't been put through the QA paces, and is one experiment … Read more

Add-ons in Firefox's first mobile browser

In week since Mozilla released the first Firefox browser for mobile phones, we've had a better chance to explore the Web on the Nokia N900. Firefox for Maemo, as it's called, is also available for the N810 Internet Tablet.

We go over some of our observations in the First Look video here, pointing out that extensions, in particular, are the browser's most notable innovation for Firefox mobile.

There are some limitations to the way Firefox handles the add-ons screens. For a start, the search engine icons you see when you begin a search (for Google, Wikipedia, or so on) count as pre-installed add-ons. That makes removing them easy, but it also takes up space in the add-ons manager, which is knock against Firefox for Maemo since maximizing screen real estate is the gold standard of the mobile experience. In this case, that precious space should be devoted exclusively to showing off add-ons.

So far, new add-ons are hard to find. Firefox mobile surfaces five recommended extensions at a time; expect the YouTube Enabler and Weave Sync to be at the top of a newcomer's list. Although there is a search bar, there's no way to browse the add-on catalog from the device. Your best bet is to discover what you want from the online catalog, which is clearly less than ideal for mobile users. Mozilla's Firefox developers might consider creating one screen for managing add-ons you already have, and another for discovering new ones, just like with NoScript, Adblock Plus, and TwitterBar.… Read more

Mobile extension

Mozilla's first Firefox browser for mobile touch-screen phones presents a likable design concept, an innovative approach to add-ons, and a better-than-fair browsing experience. However, there are a few snags for the Firefox team to work on as the browser develops on other mobile platforms.

We like the way that Firefox has downplayed the role of navigation on the screen by housing most of the navigation and settings on either side. Swipe your finger side to side to access favorites, navigation, and the settings menu.

The third-party add-ons in the Settings menu are Mozilla's big claim to fame, the … Read more

Mozilla releases first mobile Firefox browser

Mozilla has been steadily creeping toward its goal of releasing the first Firefox browser for mobile phones. On Friday, Firefox 1.0 for Nokia's Maemo--previously code-named Fennec--arrived.

Firefox for the Maemo 5 platform has a few interesting conceits that set it apart from other mobile browsers, like Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. Mozilla is banking on the uniqueness of its claim to fame--third-party, customizable browser extensions--to help its browser win mobile market share. Add-ons, after all, helped make Firefox the top browser alternative to Internet Explorer in the desktop space. To punctuate the importance of add-ons for Firefox's mobile browser, Mozilla also pushed out on Friday the general release of its bookmark and history-syncing extension, Weave Sync 1.0, for both desktop and mobile.

Mozilla's accomplishment with a mobile version of Firefox is a mixed one, and not only because Maemo is a platform relatively few people have heard of. Nokia's open-source, Linux-based Maemo operating system supports mobile Firefox on just two devices--the N900 and the N810, an Internet tablet. To make matters more limited, just two days ago Mozilla unveiled a third release candidate with a last-minute decision to pull wholesale support for Adobe's Flash plug-in from the build, citing unhappiness with the overall standard of quality. As an aside, this is apparently a sore spot for Adobe, who became miffed with Apple for excluding Flash in its new iPad device about the same time that Mozilla made its comment about degraded performance when visiting Flash sites.

Yet what kind of mobile browser would Firefox be if users couldn't watch videos or adequately view Web sites that heavily rely on Flash? Not a browser anyone could take seriously.… Read more