Firefox for Android Beta Adds Support for Progressive Web Apps, FLAC, and More
Firefox is one of the most popular web browsers on Android, and Mozilla — the incredible nonprofit behind it — isn’t slowing down. Beta 58 has been released on the Google Play Store, hot on the heels of the official and stable release of Firefox Quantum version 57. With it comes a number of key changes, including support for progressive web apps (PWA), the FLAC codec, and new locales.
We’ve covered PWAs before, including their impending support in Firefox a few weeks back, but here’s a quick refresher: They use modern web standards to deliver an app-like experience with animations, smooth scrolling, and offline functionality. What started with Google Chrome a few months ago has begun to percolate through lots of websites — AliExpress, Flipkart, and Forbes all serve PWAs, with more joining the fray every day.
Firefox will now support these applications now, too, though not quite in the same way as Google Chrome — you can’t add PWAs shortcuts to your phone’s launcher like you can with Chrome, for example. Still, it’s a start, and support for PWAs makes it stand out from the competition.
The update also adds support for the FLAC format, a lossless audio codec that’s capable of delivering extremely high-quality sound. You won’t find much web content in FLAC because the file sizes are generally too large for streaming, but the newfound support will make listening to offline files through Firefox a little easier.
The update’s other changes have to do with localization and aesthetic tweaks. There’s support for Bangladesh (bn-BD) and Nepali (ne-NP) locales, and the Firefox search widget has been removed.
If you’re interested in checking out the latest Firefox beta for yourself, head to the Google Play Store listing. If you’re wary of downloading a beta release, though, not to worry — it’s likely a matter of months before the stable version hits the Play Store.