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Closing Shop – Firefox Gone Mobile Truck: Austin

After 4 great nights at SXSW, The Firefox Gone Mobile Ice Cream Truck is closing shop! We’re hitting the road and heading for just as warm of a climate! Hopefully we don’t get lost in the Hollywood Hills! (Hint, Hint).  Thanks to everyone for the Tweets, mentions, blog posts and most importantly, coming by and hanging out with us! After thousands of ice cream sandwiches served, thousands of Foursquare check-ins, and thousands of Twitter and Facebook mentions, we are truly humbled and inspired by our amazing supporters and users. Each night I was reminded of why we’re working to build the best mobile Web browser on the planet. More pictures and stories to come. Follow @mozmobile to find out our next stop!

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Keepin’ It Weird in Austin

Day 1 of SXSW Interactive – check. More importantly, Day 1 of the “Firefox Gone Mobile” ice cream truck! Mozillians and Barbarians were out by 3rd & Congress from 7-11pm talking about Firefox 4 for Android, Firefox Home for the iPhone and answering questions. It’s still amazing to me how so many people don’t know we’re a non-profit. When I told folks how Mozilla bases their decisions, or why we build our products, they were blown away! “For the betterment of the Web?” “For the best user experience? Really?” “Principle over profit? Really?” Yes, really!

I’d say the ice cream truck had anywhere between 250-350 visitors last night and each person waiting in line spoke to a Mozillian or a Barbarian and received a piece of swag. The Mozilla-named gourmet ice cream sandwiches were delicious. The Foxy Brown and the Awesome Bar were my favorites and I think the crowd agreed. Even people with ice cream in their hands threw it away and b-lined right to the truck to try ours.

The ice cream truck also probably received around 75 foursquare check-ins. As far as swag goes, the winning item was definitely the real Firefox mobile merit badges — HUGE hit. People wanted them for their kids, wanted to sew them on their hats and backpacks — you name it. (Come to the truck, check-in, and maybe you might get one too!)

We MAY be heading back to the same location tonight. We also MAY be moving to a new location around 9pm. Clue: Pee-Wee Herman might be checking-in on the fun. Follow @mozmobile to get the latest updates on treats and locations.

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Firefox for mobile in on the move!

Oh yeah, we’re going mobile…and heading down to the Lone Star state!  That’s right, Firefox for mobile will be cruising around SXSW Interactive March 11-15, and we have some sweet treats in store for you. Now, all you have to do is find us! If you happen to be in the Austin area, follow us @mozmobile to learn our location each night, check-in, and earn some goodies…like The Mozilla Chilla, or the FoxByFoxCream, for instance. (What could it mean???) If you aren’t in the area, follow us anyway and get the latest and greatest news and info about Firefox

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New Recommended Add-on: Quit Fennec

Some people like to leave their running apps open, while others like to close them. Appropriately named, Quit Fennec, lets you close Firefox for Android when you press the “close” button on the last tab you have open.

The Android OS automatically pauses applications when they are in the background, and closes them when free memory is needed. So most users shouldn’t need to “quit” applications in Android. But for developers, testers, and add-on authors, it is useful to have a quick way to quit and restart Firefox for Android. Enjoy!

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Latest Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo Now Live!

We are excited to release the latest Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo!

Visit Firefox.com/m on your phone’s default browser to get Firefox 4 Beta on your Android or Nokia N900. Android users: you can also get Firefox 4 Beta from the Android Market by searching of “Mozilla Firefox.”

This release is the fastest performing Firefox 4 Beta for mobile yet. You will notice faster start-up, page load times and responsiveness to panning and zooming. Additionally, Firefox 4 for mobile offers over 100 add-ons in its growing gallery. Though not all are compatible with this release, you can still choose from dozens of add-ons to change the look, feel and functionality of your Firefox.

Ok, so more on speed: our recent tests on JavaScript benchmarks show Firefox 4 Beta is faster than the stock Android browser; roughly three times faster on Kraken, about twice as fast on SunSpider and slightly faster on V8. Everything from start-up time and page load time to responsiveness and panning and zooming are snappy in this release. Other advancements in this release include increasing stability, reducing installation memory usage, improving readability with zooming, and fixing some keyboard issues.

The rate at which our add-ons gallery is growing has been impressive. Developers, you can now build restartless mobile add-ons, allowing a user to easily install and use your add-on in just one tap! With Firefox 4 Beta for mobile, developers can use the latest Web technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to build fast, powerful and beautiful mobile apps and add-ons that can reach millions of people. Firefox 4 Beta already has many useful mobile add-ons to choose from and we can’t wait to see what developers build next.

We’re building an awesome browser due to all your help and feedback. Keep it coming!

  • Give feedback – Tap on Give Feedback on the Firefox for mobile Start page
  • Get Help – Ask a question and get answers with Firefox for mobile Support
  • See the release notes for a full list of features, updates and improvements included in this release.
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Six New Featured Mobile Add-ons for Firefox!

Congratulations to our Add-ons Cup winners. Our judges had an extremely difficult time choosing from the many fantastic and innovative mobile add-on submissions we received. The following add-ons are the winning selections per category, which are now Featured add-ons and can be found in the Add-ons Manager in Firefox for mobile.

  • Commerce: FinDeal by Almog Ben-kandil – Save both time and money by searching your preferred shopping websites simultaneously, easily and quickly.
  • Games: Page Eaters by Tamas Marki – Defend the web page from the page-eating bugs.
  • Geolocation: Near Me by Sriram Ramani – Search for interesting things relevant to your location.
  • Productivity: Home Links by Enrico Previdi – Customize the links that appear (such as mail client, search engine, news, etc.) when you tap on the home button.
  • Social: Less Spam, Please by Benoit Bailleux – When adding a comment to a blog, for instance, generate a temporary and anonymous email address to prevent usage by unwanted third parties.
  • Novelty: Tapsure by Chris Finke – Input passwords on websites by tapping a rhythm on your touchscreen rather than typing.

Congratulations to Chris Finke. Tapsure also won the title of Best in Show!

Vote for Your Favorite
You’ve heard what the judges had to say, now it’s up to you to decide the People’s Favorite. Vote for your favorite of the six category winners before Friday, January 28.

How to Install Add-ons
1) On your Android or Nokia N900, go to Firefox.com/m (or the Android Market) and install Firefox 4 Beta.
2) Swipe left, tap on Browser Tools (gear) and go to the Add-ons Manager (puzzle piece).
3) You will see these add-ons featured under Get Add-ons. If you do not see the add-on, you can type in the name of the Add-on directly into the search field.
4) Tap on the add-on you’d like to install and select Add to Firefox.

Thanks again to all of those who took the time to enter the Mobile Add-ons Cup! Now give them a try and remember to vote for your favorite!

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Personas for Mobile Are Here

Your Firefox, your style — anywhere! Personas for mobile have arrived.

Fabrice Desre has been cranking away to make the Personas for mobile add-on great…and it is. It’s now ready for you to install and use. It’s still a new add-on, so please let us know what you think!

By installing the Personas add-on, a Personas button will appear on your Firefox for mobile Start page. Tap the button and choose from the enormous gallery of choices at GetPersonas.com.

I’ve dressed up my Firefox with “Hello Kitty” (because why not???). Enjoy!

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Mobile Add-ons Cup CLOSED

The Mobile Add-ons Cup Challenge has officially come to a close. I had fun today testing and trying out some fantastic entries for the following categories: gaming, social, shopping, productivity, geolocation and novelty. The judges will be busy this week testing add-ons and giving each submission thorough consideration. We will do our best to notify our participants, finalists and the Grand Prize winner by the end of this week, January 14. We’ll be announcing the results the following week.

I am so excited for how Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo is shaping up. The add-ons and and growing gallery of add-ons is fantastic to see and use.  I can’t wait for others to discover and use add-ons that fit their browsing style perfectly! Stay tuned!

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Mini Reivew: My New Fitbit

It’s 2011 and I am off to a fitness-conscious start.

For Christmas, my brother gave each member of the family (including himself) a Fitbit — a small clip that you wear that monitors your activity.  At FitBit.com you can keep track of your daily steps (and distance goals), log your activities (swimming, biking, etc.), keep track of your sleep activities (you put it on a wristband for bedtime if you so please), and you can keep a food journal.

The most effective thing about the Fitbit, imo, is the food journal. If you’re committed to logging in and checking out the cool data, you become accustom to exactly how bad some things are for you to eat. I think the shock is enough to keep you away for a while, if not for good. This combined with the idea of how many calories you burn each day without activities motivates me to walk more around the office, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk to pharmacy instead of drive.

Setup was quite simple compared to other gadgets I’ve had to set up: install the software at Fitbit.com, plug a USB dock into your computer with your clip on the dock, and pair the device by plugging in a code a la Netflix setup and voila!

Not too many gripes thus far with the fitbit. Mainly my only frustration has been its compatibility (or lack thereof) with the Firefox browser. (With one out of every four people on the internet using Firefox, this needs to improve right quick.)  I could only upload my profile picture with Safari, and the formatting gets a bit wonky from time to time. Either way, the stats are working and me and my family are losing weight and having some fun with it too!

Next steps for this device seem more or less obvious. It needs mobile compatibility — seems silly that I need to go to my desktop for the latest and greatest real-time stats. I think sharing options should have more control settings. (And I think the community competition/gaming UX can have more features. That being said, Fitbit can build some great loyalty with some community-wide competitions from the cloud.) The food journal needs input from the community of users in order for it to scale. The UI needs to integrate other fitness apps like Garmin stats and Nike + stats for it to really feel like my fitness hub. When it does, however, it should be glorious.

To be continue and happy trails.

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The Next Release of Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo is Now Live!

The next release of Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo is live and now available in the Android Market (find by opening the Market application on your phone and searching for “Mozilla Firefox.”)   (Note: To ensure smooth updates, we ask existing beta users on Android to please uninstall previous Firefox betas before installing this release.) The Maemo builds are available for download here . Although we’re getting close, Firefox 4 Beta still needs your help, testing and feedback to build an amazing browser.

For this release, we made a number of changes to the look of Firefox 4 Beta, made discovery of add-ons easier, added the ability to save websites as PDFs to read later, fixed some keyboard issues and included support for complex scripts such as Arabic and Persian (on devices with the appropriate fonts). You can find more details on the user experience updates from Lead UX Designer, Madhava Enros.

We design Firefox on mobile devices to minimize typing because typing on phones is difficult and time consuming. Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo now has support for “copy and paste” in the URL bar. We also simplified the setup process for Firefox Sync to reduce the amount of typing needed to securely access your browsing history, bookmarks, tabs and passwords from your desktop to your phone, making it easy (woot!) to get to (and even log in to) any site with minimal typing.

We continue to focus on performance, responsiveness and usability in future releases and have a lot more to come for graphics, JavaScript, add-ons and more. Like what you see? Want to get involved in the Mozilla mobile project? Get involved with this beta release and Go Mobile.

Thanks everyone!

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