When you buy an Android smartphone today, you really only have one option of browser right out of the box - the vanilla Android browser. Sure, you can download other browsers off of Google Play, but why do that when you have a perfectly good browser already preinstalled on your device. Well, Mozilla is tired of you ignoring Firefox on Google Play so it's going to do something about it.
Mozilla announced today that Firefox for Android will come preinstalled on two devices this year - the Kobo Arc tablets and the Gigabyte GSmart Simba SX1 smarpthones. The move is obviously intended to get Firefox for Android on more devices as Mozilla struggles to gain marketshare in the mobile market. As of October, Net Applications reported that Firefox for Android is installed on only 0.01 percent of all mobile devices.
As for the devices themselves, you've probably already heard of Kobo and its line of tablets. The company has been seen as a Nook competitor for a few years now, but Kobo has far superior hardware. It's Kobo Arc 7HD and Arc 10HD blow the Nook HD and Nook HD+ out of the water.
So, what does Firefox bring to the Kobo tablets? According to Mozilla, it's all about the readability:
Like Kobo’s Readability features, Firefox has a Reader feature to offer another way for Kobo customers to view and read Web content by removing advertisements, adjusting pictures and increasing font size to show a more clear view of the page. Everything in your Firefox Reading List is available offline, so you can catch up on reading when Internet access is unavailable, like on an airplane or subway.
As for the Gigabyte GSmart Simba SX1, it's a new smartphone from one of the world's largest PC component manufacturers. It's claim to fame is that it's a dual-SIM smartphone that supports up to three-way calling. As for the hardware itself, it's nothing special with a Snapdragon 400 dual-core CPU, 1GB of RAM and Android 4.2.
“We are pleased to partner with Kobo and GIGABYTE to offer Firefox as a pre-installed Web browser on Kobo Arc tablets and the GSmart Simba SX1 smartphone.” said Karen Rudnitski, Senior Product Manager for Firefox for Android. “Firefox is dedicated to offering users the best and most personal mobile browsing experience and we are happy to be able to bring that experience directly to users, globally.”
The Kobo Arc tablets are now available in the U.S. and Canada while the GSmart Simba X1 will be available globally in December of this year.[Image: Kobo]