This morning we received word that Qualcomm and Mozilla have succeeded in creating a native build of Firefox that is now available to Windows on Snapdragon users. The version is still technically a beta, however it ratifies the announcement made in December that the two companies would be collaborating to bring a native ARM64 WoS version to market.

In December at Qualcomm’s Tech Summit, the company announced that it would be bringing a range of software applications natively to its Windows on Snapdragon platform. The WoS platform works by running either native code or emulating x86 code, with the former being the fastest and most preferential option in order to get the most performance. Qualcomm has been working with software developers to do this, to enable a better experience on its users, as well as furthering the extended battery life of the platform. One of the high profile targets on its software list was Firefox, a popular web browser, and today the collaboration between Qualcomm and Mozilla has produced a publically available beta version for download.

Samsung Galaxy Book2, with Windows on Snapdragon

Firefox now joins Microsoft’s Edge browser as offering native support for WoS systems, leaving only Chrome left, which is likely to happen as Edge shifts to a Chromium code base in due course, with Chromium-based Edge already supporting native ARM64 WoS at some level. Firefox has been a popular browser for over a decade, due to its continued claims of speed, plug-in support, and the fact that it’s not Google. The build for WoS announced today builds on performance work with Firefox Quantum, which aims to use multi-threaded compute resources more efficiently than before, which should be a positive for the Snapdragon chips that have an eight core configuration. This is implemented through the programming language Rust, taking advantage of its concurrency support.

Users interested in the Firefox ARM64 for WoS build can find it here, although as it is a beta users are expected to help submit bug reports and crash reports to assist in fine tuning.

Title image: Lenovo Yoga C630 WoS

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  • eastcoast_pete - Thursday, April 11, 2019 - link

    I hope that Qualcomm has at least the decency of supporting the Mozilla foundation for this obvious plug for this support of "Qualcomm Inside". That being said, the main announcement I am waiting for is Microsoft's release of a fully Snapdragon-native Office suite, or at least a beta release of one. Without that, no dice.
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, April 11, 2019 - link

    "and the fact that it’s not Google"

    Yeah, we like our telemetry in a different color.
  • darkswordsman17 - Thursday, April 11, 2019 - link

    Firefox is doing quite a bit to help improve privacy. I'm pretty sure you can turn off their telemetry. Unless you're talking about Microsoft, which odd argument to make when talking about a Windows device.
  • HStewart - Thursday, April 11, 2019 - link

    And still does anybody actually buy these devices. only fools thinking it is a real notebook.
  • abufrejoval - Monday, April 15, 2019 - link

    I wonder just how compliated that was.

    Of course a browser these days is basically an OS, various middle-ware stacks and rendering engines as well as an 'application', but something called Firefox and looking very much like a browser has been running on ARM for ages, if only on Android and 'normal' Linux user-lands.

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