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Firefox OS 1.3 Adds New Technologies For Mobile Developers

by Sergio De Simone on May 14, 2014 |

Mozilla has announced that a new Firefox OS version is now available to Mozilla partners. The update includes many new features for both users and developers. The new OS version is already available on a new ZTE mobile phone, the ZTE Open C.

The new Firefox OS 1.3 improves support for graphics and gaming applications by adding WebGL, asm.js, and WebAudio APIs:

  • WebGL is a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 3D graphics and 2D graphics within any compatible web browser without the use of plug-ins. WebGL programs consist of control code written in JavaScript and shader code that is executed on a computer's Graphics Processing Unit (GPU).
  • asm.js is a highly-optimized version of JavaScript that allows developers to bring C/C++ programs to the web with near-native speeds. asm.js is particularly relevant for porting to the web existing game engines.
  • WebAudio describes a high-level JavaScript API for processing and synthesizing audio in web applications.

Besides gaming technologies, Firefox OS 1.3 also extends NFC support starting with the availability of the WebNFC API. Developers will be able to begin experimenting with NFC pairing and tag reading in their apps, with additional NFC functionality coming in futures updates, according to Mozilla.

The Gecko Platform also gets a boost with new WebAPIs, among them:

  • Shared workers promise to enable more powerful data processing and resource sharing so developers can write faster applications.
  • SpeakerManager gives developers access to the phone’s speaker allowing application such as the FM Radio to be listened to without headphones.
  • The WebIccManager API, which allows support for multiple SIM cards.

Finally, Firefox OS 1.3 also includes the RTSP streaming framework allowing developers to leverage existing technologies to target Firefox OS users.

A complete listing of all changes brought by Firefox OS 1.3 can be found in the release notes.

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