Mozilla previews a redesigned and faster Firefox for Android

Mozilla today announced the first preview of a redesigned version of Firefox for Android that promises to be up to two times faster. The new version also introduces an easier to use and rather minimalist user interface, as well as support for collections, Mozilla’s new take on bookmarks. The new browser also features Firefox’s tracking protection, which is on by default. Over time, this preview will become the default Firefox for Android .

A few years ago, with Quantum, the Firefox team make a number of under-the-hood improvements to the browser’s core backend technologies. Now, it is doing something similar with GeckoView, Mozilla’s browser engine for Android. Implementing the technology the team developed for this in the browser now “paves the way for a complete makeover of the mobile Firefox experience,” the organization writes in today’s announcement.

“While all other major Android browsers today are based on Blink and therefore reflective of Google’s decisions about mobile, Firefox’s GeckoView engine ensures us and our users independence,” says the Firefox team. “Building Firefox for Android on GeckoView also results in greater flexibility in terms of the types of privacy and security features we can offer our mobile users.”

An early version of Firefox with GeckoView is now available for testing on Android under the Firefox Preview moniker. Mozilla notes that the user experience will sill change quite a bit before it is final.

Screenshot 20190627 081245When you first launch it, Preview opens up a new default experience that lets you sign in to a Firefox account, decide on whether you want a light or dark theme (or have the system switch automatically depending on the time of day), turn on privacy features and more.

One feature I really appreciate is that, by default, the preview puts the URL bar at the bottom of the screen, so that it’s within easy reach of your thumb. If you swipe up on the URL bar, you get both a share and bookmark icon, too. That takes some getting used to but quickly becomes second nature.

I haven’t run any formal benchmarks, but the preview definitely feels significantly snappier and smoother than any previews Firefox version on Android, up to the point where I wouldn’t hesitate to make it my default browser on mobile, especially given its built-in privacy features. I haven’t run into any hard crashes so far either, but this is obviously a beta version, so your mileage may vary.

For the rest of the year, the team will focus on optimizing the preview for all Android devices, but for now, it’s already worth a look if you’re looking to play with a new mobile browser on your Android device and not afraid of the occasional bug.

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Android – TechCrunch

Luna Display updates its video engine for faster performance

Astro, the company behind Luna Display and Astropad, is releasing a major software update that will drastically improve performance. According to the company’s own testing, you should expect as much as a 100 percent performance increase when it comes to latency and refresh rate.

Luna Display lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your laptop. For instance, if you’re traveling and you can’t get any work done without an external display, you can use Luna Display to move macOS windows across your laptop display and your iPad.

Some people have also been using it with a home server. For instance, you can use Luna Display to control a Mac Mini using an iPad, a wireless keyboard and a wireless mouse. You’re no longer tied to a desk.

Compared to similar apps, Luna Display relies on a hardware dongle. This tiny USB-C or Mini DisplayPort device emulates a display. In your Mac settings, it looks like you plugged a standard display even though it’s just a tiny key.

Astropad is a separate app for creative professionals. It lets you mirror your Mac display and use Photoshop with your Apple Pencil. They both rely on the same rendering engine.

And today’s update is all about performance. Thanks to a bunch of optimizations, you get an average latency of 11.3 ms when you use one of those apps with a 13-inch MacBook Pro, an 11-inch iPad Pro and a USB cable. Over Wi-Fi, you get a latency of 22.4 ms.

When it comes to frame rate, it’s a bit harder to quantify. But Astro has compared its products with competing solutions and thinks you have a higher chance of hitting 60 frames per second using Astro’s products.

Astro has compared Luna Display with Duet Display and Air Display. And it’s interesting to see that the company reports better performance than Duet.

Duet recently released and update to take advantage of hardware acceleration. At the time, Duet claimed that its solution was faster and cheaper than Luna Display. It’s clear that this space is moving quickly, and the result is better apps for everyone.

Gadgets – TechCrunch