Oh Joy, A Firefox Tablet

The Taipei-based Mozilla spokeswoman declined to provide details on the device that the companies plan to unveil on June 3, but Focus Taiwan, citing an “industry insider”, reported that it would likely be a tablet.

Reuters

Just a couple  weeks away. What’s Firefox OS like? No one really knows. What’s the “tablet” design? No one knows. Battery life? Hardware? Apps? Size/weight? Price? No one has a clue.

I’m buying two.

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In-depth analysis of Google’s VP8. One worry is patent infringement.

Finally, the problem of patents appears to be rearing its ugly head again. VP8 is simply way too similar to H.264: a pithy, if slightly inaccurate, description of VP8 would be “H.264 Baseline Profile with a better entropy coder”. Though I am not a lawyer, I simply cannot believe that they will be able to get away with this, especially in today’s overly litigious day and age.  Even VC-1 differed more from H.264 than VP8 does, and even VC-1 didn’t manage to escape the clutches of software patents. Until we get some hard evidence that VP8 is safe, I would be extremely cautious.  Since Google is not indemnifying users of VP8 from patent lawsuits, this is even more of a potential problem.

Emphasis in the original. The article is a geek read if ever there was one, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Web Browser News: Safari 4 Downloads in Perspective, Opera Boycott

There’s some browser news floating around today worth talking about. And none of it has anything to do with Internet Explorer.

Firefox

First up, Mozilla puts Safari 4’s 11M downloads in perspective:

I just read that Apple is reporting 11 million Safari 4 downloads in just three days. That’s pretty amazing.

I’d like to follow up that report with one of my own.

Firefox 3.0.11 was downloaded about 150 million times in the last 24 hours.

While there may be a touch of snark in the comment, the truth is the truth. There’s also no denying its accuracy, nor can it be doubted that it does indeed put Safari 4’s download numbers in an entirely different context. In fact, Mozilla had previously pointed out that 27% of Mac users alone have swapped from the default browser to Firefox:

Having chosen Mac, Safari users, about 27% of them, have opted out of the bundled and default browser and instead chosen Firefox. That’s an even higher conversion to Firefox rate than we’re seeing on Windows.

In short, Safari has a long way to go.

Opera

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the browser world, staunch Internet Explorer fans are requesting a boycott on the Opera browser. From the article:

Opera is simply upset because their browser is dead last in market share, and has already been surpassed by the recently released Google Chrome browser and Apple’s Safari browser for Windows.

True enough. I think Opera is asking for a seat at the table they haven’t earned. As for the boycott itself, given Opera’s share of the browser market I though it was already on.

Apple Safari 3.1 on Windows XP.

I’ve been running the betas of Safari on Windows ever since they came out. Overall I like Safari on Windows though it’s bit sluggish, which I attributed partially to being a beta.

Today Apple released Safari 3.1 on Mac and Windows. My primary interest was on Windows, where I still use Firefox most of the time.

Having used it only briefly I have the following observations:

  • Speed is much improved, and is overall faster than Firefox when loading pages side by side. Keep in mind that Firefox is no slouch, so performance wasn’t that big of a deal for me. I’m just happy that Safari can compete with it now that it’s out of beta.
  • There’s an issue with rendering. Take a look at the screen below shown in Firefox:

firefox_mdn.jpg

Now compare that to the same page in Safari 3.1:

safari_mdn.jpg

Oops.

No, I don’t have popup blocking or ad blocking enabled in either application.

I haven’t run Safari 3.1 on the Mac yet, so I’m curious to see if the same discrepancy between it and Firefox exists there.