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Firefox 3.6 knows which way your PC's facing

Firefox orientation

By Stuart Turton

Posted on 13 Oct 2009 at 09:32

Firefox 3.6 will include an API capable of detecting your computer's orientation, Mozilla has announced.

The API will allow the browser to utilise a computer's in-built accelerometer, allowing developers to create applications around the feature.

Early suggested examples include games such as Labyrinth, where you guide a ball through a maze by tilting the device, and a demonstration video showing a webpage automatically levelling out as a MacBook Air is tilted from side-to-side.

The API was originally created for Fennec, Mozilla's mobile browser, but with accelerometers increasingly finding their way into laptops including the MacBook Air and Lenovo ThinkPads, the foundation decided to build it into the next release of the desktop browser.

Firefox 3.6 is intended to be a fairly lightweight update to Firefox 3.5, which was hounded by delays due to the development of the TraceMonkey rendering engine.

However, the latest version of the browser already has some notable new additions, including a plugin checker that will ensure third-party plugins such as Flash are up-to-date.

The beta of Firefox 3.6 is expected this week.

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User comments

Focus on speed perhaps

Maybe Mozilla would like to try and focus on performance instead for a change. I'm becoming increasingly dissatisfied with Firefox as it just seems to be getting slower, fatter and more bloated with every release.

Unless they start focusing soon on making it launch and run quickly instead of just packing more and more features into it, I can see myself ditching it in favour of Chrome, Safari or Opera.

By Trippynet on 13 Oct 2009

Trippynet, I second your comments. Compared to IE, it does take a lot longer to load. It's not Mozilla why i stay loyal to FF, it's the add-ons I couldn't live without

By DaChimp on 13 Oct 2009

Agreed with above. If Chrome had a secured password management system I would switch in a flash for general browsing and would only go back to FF when I need to use Firebug or other developer tools.

By halsteadk on 13 Oct 2009

I agree. I have a theory after the Firefox 3.5 TraceMonkey debacle that they have lost control of their development process. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians (if you can say that anymore, damn the PC police).

By c6ten on 13 Oct 2009

That's possibly the most ridiculous waste of time I've ever seen.

Agree with all of you. Mozilla are losing it!

By Grunthos on 13 Oct 2009

Not just for Muslims?

When I saw the title, I thought it might be useful to orient one's screen to Mecca!
I'm not sure there is much advantage in my browser knowing that my screen has just fallen off my desk onto the floor.

By milliganp on 13 Oct 2009

Wow - what a fun thing for a browser to do - new ideas are always better than hearing endlessly of how fast 'this' is to 'that', how may fractions of a second would you notice! Be honest - this is an Original idea - now try to think how to implement it and have fun!

By nicomo on 13 Oct 2009

'fractions of a second'? Firefox took 2m 10 sec to launch yesterday on my Vista laptop. I'd almost forgotten I launched it, and was happily Facebooking in Chrome by the time it had launched.

By c6ten on 13 Oct 2009

Agree. Speed is not everything but it is almost everything when it comes to a browser. I have no doubt the use of accelerometers will come in useful and certain things will be more fun but the slow start speed and instability of the current FF has driven me to Chrome. Even IE is faster than FF just now!

By keirallen on 15 Oct 2009

It would be better if FF stopped crashing on a regular basis before more junk is added.

By RDWatkins on 15 Oct 2009

Fix for slow start

The main cause of slow Firefox start up is fragmentation of the places.sqlite database file used to store bookmarks and history. An automatic fix for this is on the way, but for now you can use the extension Vacuum Places Improved:

By greenknight32 on 15 Oct 2009

Are you sure its not April 1?

WHy waste time developing it?
Why would I want it?
WHy isn't this an add-on that I can ignore?
I left IE for Firefox because it was quicker, worked in my banking site whereas IE8 failed, and becasue its footprint with many web pages open was significantly less than IE.
I agree with coments above that this is a backwards step.

By fellwalker2000 on 15 Oct 2009

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