Mozilla is set to revamp Firefox for Android by reintroducing a feature that was removed in 2020, an open ecosystem of extensions. The removal was part of a major security and interface overhaul, but it impacted extension compatibility. Now, Mozilla is making a comeback with over 400 new extensions set to be officially available on December 14. Scott DeVaney of Mozilla had previously hinted at the return of extensions, promising a debut before the end of the year.
True to the announcement, Mozilla has confirmed in a blogpost the release date and has even launched a dedicated extension page to simplify the process of discovering and adding new content.
Sneak Peek at New Firefox Extensions
Mozilla has already teased users with a preview of the upcoming extensions, dropping a collection of open extensions for Android. Among the highlights are Bitwarden’s password manager, Decentraleyes for privacy protection, a text-to-speech add-on, AdGuard’s ad blocker, Web Archives, and more.
Currently, 16 open extensions are available on Mozilla’s add-on page, but the excitement doesn’t end there. In December, Mozilla plans to release more than 400 additional extensions, doubling their initial hint just a few weeks ago.
What sets Firefox apart, according to Mozilla, is that it will be the only major Android browser supporting an open extension ecosystem. This move allows users to create a variety of extensions for Firefox, potentially giving it a competitive edge over rivals like Google Chrome, known for its limited support for third-party add-ons. In contrast, Safari on iOS has recently embraced extension support.
Since Firefox for Android’s makeover three years ago, it has been limited to fewer than two dozen extensions. Using desktop Firefox extensions with the Android version required navigating developer menus, a process Mozilla warned could lead to problems.
As the release date approaches, Mozilla is cautioning developers to brace themselves for a surge in demand for extensions. The organization has provided detailed instructions to help developers get started, emphasizing the importance of thorough code testing.
While the extension revival is creating excitement in the Android realm, it remains uncertain whether Firefox extensions will ever be available on iOS. Apple’s distinct extension system complicates compatibility with Firefox’s, presenting a challenge for cross-platform integration.