Firefox 19 betas: Built-in PDF viewing, broader Android reach

The desktop version of Mozilla’s browser beta is shunting Adobe’s PDF plug-in aside, and the Android version works on 15 million more smartphones.Firefox logo

 

Adobe Systems Flash Player plug-in has been targeted in web development circles for years, but now the Adobe Reader software is increasingly a target in the war against the plug-ins.

Mozilla launched its own PDF reader system, called PDF.js, using browser Javascript engine itself to decode the Adobe-created, but the standard document format.

The portable document format for years was a difficult part of the Web, often ambush the unwary with long page load times as the Adobe Reader plug-in loaded. However, PDF files have become more common, exposed in Google search results and is used for everything from bank statements to the tax forms. In Safari, the Apple software on top of its own Adobe PDF reader plug-in, but Google has taken a step further by creating PDF rendering directly in Chrome.

Mozilla launched its PDF.js project in 2011, taking advantage of the latest browser capabilities such as canvas to display the most complex documents.

Mozilla also released a new beta version of Firefox for Android that says reaches more than 15 million phones. Previously, the browser requires a 800 MHz ARMv6 processor or faster, but reduced the requirement Mozilla 600MHz, along with 512MB of memory, and HVGA (480×320 pixels) screen resolution.

“This includes popular phones like LG Optimus One, T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, HTC Wildfire S and ZTE R750,” Mozilla said in its blog.

The new beta also adds Android themes that people can customize the appearance of the browser, CSS handles format using percentages set viewport, and can be located in the Chinese traditional and simplified Chinese.

The beta version of Firefox for PC gets the CSS function, too, along with a faster onset and a feature that offers to reset the search engine for AwesomeBar (Web address or alias address bar) if changes third software it.

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