Firefox For Android Now Supporting HTML5 Video Playback For Jelly Bean and Ice Cream Sandwich

When Mozilla dropped the latest version of its Firefox browser for Android on November 19th, it just seemed like any other update. If you're like me and have a couple of apps every single day wanting updates, it really doesn't leave much time to look into what's new with every one of them. Apparently Mozilla realizes this, because despite the most recent version of the browser having been available for nearly two weeks, the developer has only just the other day decided to draw attention to a new feature through a blog post.

As the title of this post suggests, those using Firefox on Android 4.0+ (Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean) can make use of H.264 video acceleration through HTML5. Video performance will vary depending on your device, its specs and the website you're viewing the video through (code-heavy sites may cause the video to lag). In my quick testing, smooth playback was hit or miss. In HotHardware, for example, the video from our Nexus 10 tablet review couldn't be realistically viewed. Tested in Chrome, however, it was smooth as silk - which strikes me as odd since it's usually Chrome that I find lacks in performance (which is the reason I've used Firefox for Android the past while). Nonetheless, this does hint that Mozilla might have a bit of work to do.

One oddity I also discovered is that if I tried to watch a video through YouTube's mobile site, I'd be prompted to either view it through Skyfire (another Web browser) or the YouTube app itself. As I'm not a developer, I'm not exactly sure why it wouldn't simply play through Firefox itself, but based on the fact that I was prompted to play in another browser, my feeling is that this is something Mozilla can fix. If you're already in a Web browser, chances are good you'd rather not begin launching outside apps just to view content.

Overall, this is a great addition to Firefox, but based on the two issues I found above (on two separate devices), I do think there is some more work to be done.