The latest beta release of the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox for Android browser has lower hardware requirements than earlier versions, adding millions of potential users.
In a blog post announcing the new release on Friday, Mozilla said the mobile browser is now supported on devices with ARMv6 CPUs clocked as low as 600MHz, down from the 800MHz that was required previously.
According to Mozilla, that change allows the open source browser to run on approximately 15 million more devices than it could before. Examples of newly supported models include the LG Optimus One, the T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, the HTC Wildfire S, and the ZTE R750.
The browser's other system requirements haven't changed. It still needs 512MB of RAM, a minimum screen resolution of 480x320, around 16MB of free storage, and Android 2.2 or greater to run.
In fact, it may not even run on every device that meets those requirements. Mozilla only started making public beta builds of Firefox with support for the ARMv6 architecture in September, when it said it would test a variety of hardware profiles in a "phased approach." Like all beta software, these builds are not guaranteed to work perfectly.
Still, Mozilla estimates that as many as 55 per cent of the Android handsets in use worldwide run on ARMv6 processors. The goal is for Firefox to support as many of them as possible, though Mozilla says supporting all of them is probably unfeasible.
In addition to the reduced hardware requirements, the latest Firefox for Android beta also brings a few new features. Most notably, the new release now supports UI themes, much as the desktop version does, and it has also been localized for Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese.
Customers whose phones meet or exceed the new minimum hardware requirements can download the new Firefox for Android beta from the Google Play store as of Friday. Per usual, users are encouraged to share feedback about the browser and to report bugs. ®