April 4, 2018 // 11:13 a.m.
Mozilla, the entity behind the popular Firefox web browser, has announced the launch of a new browser for virtual, augmented, and mixed reality use: Firefox Reality.
Designed, Mozilla's Trevor Smith explains, from the ground up for standalone virtual and augmented reality headset use, Firefox Reality takes the core Firefox browser's Android variant and the still-experimental in-house Servo web engine and moulds them into something with which the company hopes to tempt VR and AR developers and users. 'This is the first step in our long-term plan to deliver a totally new experience on an exciting new platform,' claims Smith in the unveiling announcement.
'We believe that the future of the web will be heavily intertwined with virtual and augmented reality, and that future will live through browsers. That’s why we’re building Firefox Reality, a new kind of web browser that has been designed from the ground up to work on stand-alone virtual and augmented reality (or mixed reality) headsets,' adds Mozilla's Sean White in a follow-up post. 'Here at Mozilla, it’s our mission to ensure that the Internet is an open and accessible resource that puts people first. Currently, the world can browse the open web using our fast and privacy-focused Firefox browser, but continuing that mission in a rapidly changing world means constantly investing our time and resources into new and emerging technologies – and realities. Mozilla has always been on the frontlines of virtual and augmented reality (see our work with WebVR, WebAR and A-Frame), and this is a mixed reality browser that is specifically built to tackle the new opportunities and challenges of browsing the immersive web.'
Firefox Reality, White claims, is the first cross-platform and open-source browser designed for mixed reality use. It's also claimed to be fast, which is going to be key for its success: The hardware behind the current generation of standalone virtual and augmented reality headsets is, in many cases, little more than a smartphone in disguise - and when you're driving stereoscopic high-resolution high-speed displays while tracking motion, you don't necessarily have all that much power left over for resource-hungry applications.