Irina Sandu

on mobile and Mozilla

Month: March, 2011

More than just a browser – part 1


Yesterday we released Firefox for mobile on Android. You can download it from the Android Market. Other than being yet another Web browser for Android, here is what Firefox brings extra to the table.


The basics of browsing: an intuitive URL bar, Back and Forward buttons, tabs, bookmarks, cache, cookies, user preferences panel are all there and work just fine. But the rest is what sets Firefox apart from the rest of its competitors on Android.


As a stand-alone browser rather than one built on top of the native one (as most of them on Android are) gives it a set of uniques advantages. From bypassing limitations like number of open tabs available to offering a wide range of modern Web standards support, Firefox brings Gecko’s strong points to the light and shows it is a platform that can perform in mobile environments as well. (Android is not the only OS we support Firefox on, as you can use it on Nokia’s Maemo as well)


While the rendering engine for Firefox is the same between desktop and mobile, this is not true for the interface. A mobile browser needs specific adaptations for smaller screens and touch interaction. From its one-swipe access to the side menus to the Smart Screen with all of your history, bookmarks and open tabs, Firefox takes UI design to a new, deeply mobile-integrated level. Madhava takes a wider look at Firefox’s user interface.


But the UI is only one part of the user experience that sets Firefox apart. In order to bridge the gap between the different form factors, we have integrated into both desktop and mobile versions of the browser a end-to-end encrypted, seamless synchronization feature we call Firefox Sync. It has support for bookmarks, history, open tabs and passwors, thus bringing not just set a set of useful data to the mobile device, but quite a bunch of them. What makes Firefox Sync unique is its end-to-end encryption which makes sure that once the data leaves a user’s computer it cannot be read; en-route or on the syncing server. For even more security, it allows you to use a custom server, which can be run by you or a trusted friend.


In part 2 we will be talking about add-ons, customization and more.

Optimize your app submission for the Android Market

There are several factors that are being taken into account when displaying search results for apps in the Android Market. Let’s look at a few of them and what you can do to get your app up there. There are things you can do when you submit your app to the Android Market and some you will adjust on the way.


When you setup your app in the Android Market

  • Frequency of keywords: choose 3-5 keywords that define your application and make them the most often used in the app description. The number depends on the size of the text. There is no reason to rush and use the whole 4000 characters allowed. Few people will take the time to read it all. Make it to the point, precise, comprehensive.
  • Competitors’ positioning: to make sure your app will be up in the results list for your keywords, do a search and look at the apps in the top positions. How many times do they mention the terms? Do the average and try to be in the same ballpark or slightly higher. Don’t over-do it, you’ll drive the users crazy.
  • Keywords positioning: as for webpages, words in the title count more than ones in the description. Make sure 2-3 of your keywords are present in the title/name of the app.
  • Make sure you choose the approapriate category. Once your app gets successful, being among the first ones in the right category is another way to get new users.

As you are going:

  • Ratings: needless to say that high star ratings will help, as long as you got your keywords right
  • Comments: try to constantly get ratings and comments. Having users who have recently downloaded and rated your app improves your standing.




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