Tip: Test Native Firefox for Windows 10 on ARM

Posted on January 5, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Uncategorized with 28 Comments

If you’re one of the select few who is betting on Windows 10 on ARM already, you might want to begin testing the first native ARM third-party web browser early as well.

Embarrassingly, nightly builds of pre-release versions of Firefox for Windows 10 on ARM have been available since December 20, but I only found out about this today courtesy of Neowin.

“I’m excited to announce that we have bona fide ARM64 Windows nightlies available for download,” a post to a Mozilla public mailing list explains. “Please note that these builds are even nightlier than our normal nightlies on other platforms: they have not gone through our usual automated testing process, bugs are almost certain to crop up, etc.”

Based on my very early experience using the latest nightly build of Firefox for Windows 10 on ARM, the experience is a bit spotty. Initial app boot time is really slower—slower than that of the Intel versions of Chrome and Firefox, for sure—and, as Mozilla notes there are still missing low-level features like the Gecko profiler,  the Crash Reporter, the latest JavaScript JIT compiler, WebRTC, and more. Worse, a technology called Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) isn’t yet available, so popular media services like Netflix won’t work yet either.

But yes. These are nightly builds, so they will improve each day until this browser is deemed of high enough quality to ship publicly alongside the other versions of Firefox. And I’ve found normal web browsing to work pretty well, so it’s not a complete non-starter.

Feeling brave? You can download the nightly Firefox for Windows 10 on ARM installer here.

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