Firefox Reality removed as Mozilla abandons VR browser

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Mozilla has announced that Firefox Reality, the VR-based web browser it launched in 2018, is being shut down…sort of. According to the company, a version of the browser will live on as Wolvic, a new product from Igalia. The new browser will launch next week, and Mozilla’s Firefox Reality app will be pulled from stores around the same time.

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Firefox Reality is a browser designed to make the Internet accessible in VR environments. An Oculus user, for example, can use Firefox Reality to browse web pages while wearing the VR headset. The browser includes robust features, including voice search and support for 360-degree videos. Overall, the app is a great tool for VR enthusiasts, but one that will no longer be part of Mozilla’s software catalog.

What users should expect

According to Mozilla, it passed the technology behind Firefox Reality to Igalia, which describes itself as an “open source consultancy”. The group recently introduced Wolvic, its new browser that Igalia says will focus on “picking up where Firefox Reality leaves off.”

Wolvic is based on the source code of the Firefox Reality browser, Mozilla explains. Igalia dropped a few additional details, including that it has “obtained partial funding over the next two years” — although, he notes, the band still hopes to find new partners.

Among other things, Igalia says it will initially focus on standalone virtual reality and other AOSP-based “extended reality” systems, which would include popular products like the HTC Vive Focus and Oculus. Going forward, however, it also aims to work with major companies in the market to bring Wolvic to their respective platforms, with Lenovo and Qualcomm mentioned.

Wolvic will launch next week “still in a somewhat beta phase”, according to Igalia, which means users may occasionally encounter bugs. Firefox Reality, meanwhile, will be removed from app stores “in the coming weeks.”

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