Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

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Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Karen Rudnitski
This note announces the End of Life plan for Firefox for Android on both the Android 2.2 software platform and handsets running ARMv6 chipsets.
With the release of Firefox for Android 31 this week, we have decided to discontinue support for both Android 2.2 software and ARMv6 chipset hardware from a feature and non-security bug fixing perspective. We will no longer test or fix bugs for the Android 2.2 platform, nor will we provide a separate build for ARMv6-based handsets. This includes non-release channels as well.
However, users will still be offered updates with relevant security updates for a period of 6 months from today * . All official support will formally discontinue in January 2015 .

Android 2.2 and ARMv6 users represent less than 1% of all Android devices currently in the market and these numbers are in steady decline. Our own data also show that these users represent less than 1% of our current install base, and a fraction of these users browse with Firefox on a daily basis.



This was a difficult decision as we are thankful for each and every individual user who has chosen F irefox to browse the Web on their Android handset. We are also mindful of the cost and effort involved in supporting and maintaining our testing infrastructure, and we require to re-address our priorities from time to time. A fter assessing all of our projects, we decided that we needed to discontinue support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 configurations in order to better focus our resources on the projects and configurations that resonate with the majority of our Firefox users .
- Karen Rudnitski
______
* We will be generating builds from the mozilla-esr31 branch in order to pick up any relevant and necessary security fixes that may occur with each 6 week cycle between now and January 2015. However, this does not signal regular support of ESR builds for Firefox for Android in the future; it is simply the best mechanism to achieve our aims at minimizing disappointment for our users affected by this decision and allows them time to find an alternative solution.

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Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Gervase Markham
On 23/07/14 11:20, Karen Rudnitski wrote:
> Android 2.2 and ARMv6 users represent less than 1% of all Android
> devices currently in the market and these numbers are in steady
> decline. Our own data also show that these users represent less than
> 1% of our current install base, and a fraction of these users browse
> with Firefox on a daily basis.

In August 2012, when the ARMv6 project began, several wiki pages[0] noted:

"We need to support ARMv6 devices to almost double our addressable
market from 41% currently to ~80% of the total Android install base."

What is the current % of the active Android handset market which is
ARMv6 today? Is it still higher than "a fraction of 1%"? If so, do we
think these users are avoiding Firefox due to high resource
requirements/poor performance on their handsets, or some other reason?

I would be interested to know the results if any retrospective work has
been done to see whether the gains we hoped for at the time we initiated
this project have in fact materialised. (Obviously, the memory reduction
work turned out to be valuable for other reasons, e.g. Tarako. I'm not
saying that we shouldn't have done it.) Was such analysis part of the
decision to stop producing builds?

Gerv

[0] e.g. https://wiki.mozilla.org/ARMv6_support_-_phase_1 ,
         https://wiki.mozilla.org/Mobile/ARMv6
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Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Ed Morley-2
On 23/07/2014 13:35:00, Gervase Markham wrote:
> What is the current % of the active Android handset market which is
> ARMv6 today? Is it still higher than "a fraction of 1%"?

I was curious about this so had a bit of a search, but couldn't find
anywhere that listed overall android stats for this.

Apparently Armv7 mandatory wasn't made mandatory until Android 4.4 [1]
(later than I expected), however I find it hard to believe old low-RAM
Armv6 devices are running Android 4.0+ unless people have rooted them,
since carriers will have stopped updating them. Android < 4.0 accounts
for 14% of usage according to [2] however that includes Armv7 devices
as well.

I would think that one of the appeals of adding Armv6 support back in
2012 was that we could attract users who are stuck on old Android
versions (due to lack of carrier updates) and thus un-updatable
built-in browsers that barely supported modern web technologies (whilst
the separate-from-Android Google Chrome for Android was released in
2012, it has only ever been available on Android 4.0+ [3]).

Now that almost two years have passed, I imagine a proportion of those
users have moved onto newer devices.

[1]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_hardware_requirements#Hardware_requirements
[2] http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Chrome_for_Android
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Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Karl Dubost
In reply to this post by Karen Rudnitski
Karen,

Le 23 juil. 2014 à 19:20, Karen Rudnitski <[hidden email]> a écrit :
> Android 2.2 and ARMv6 users represent less than 1% of all Android devices currently in the market and these numbers are in steady decline.

Just because it is an interesting data point that could be used in another context. What is the data source?

Thanks.


--
Karl Dubost, Mozilla
http://www.la-grange.net/karl/moz

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Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Karen Rudnitski
Android 2.2 market share is published by Google for all devices checking into the Play Store ( https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html ). We have been watching the market share steadily decline over the past 12 months.

I have also just realized that by lumping or ARMv6 in that sentence is slightly misleading. ARMv6 users represent a fraction (far fewer than 1%) of Firefox for Android users (not necessarily all Android devices) as per FHR and the number of user installs of the ARMv6 APK via Google Play store. There is no definitive data source available (that we have found, paid or unpaid) that lists ARMv6 devices compared to other CPUs. We have had to make some inferences and estimates based on popular device models for the markets we can feasibly and realistically target.

----- Original Message -----

> From: "Karl Dubost" <[hidden email]>
> To: "Karen Rudnitski" <[hidden email]>
> Cc: [hidden email]
> Sent: Thursday, 24 July, 2014 1:47:48 AM
> Subject: Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for
> Firefox for Android

> Karen,

> Le 23 juil. 2014 à 19:20, Karen Rudnitski <[hidden email]> a écrit :
> > Android 2.2 and ARMv6 users represent less than 1% of all Android devices
> > currently in the market and these numbers are in steady decline.

> Just because it is an interesting data point that could be used in another
> context. What is the data source?

> Thanks.

> --
> Karl Dubost, Mozilla
> http://www.la-grange.net/karl/moz
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Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Kevin Brosnan
In reply to this post by Gervase Markham
On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 5:35 AM, Gervase Markham <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 23/07/14 11:20, Karen Rudnitski wrote:
> > Android 2.2 and ARMv6 users represent less than 1% of all Android
> > devices currently in the market and these numbers are in steady
> > decline. Our own data also show that these users represent less than
> > 1% of our current install base, and a fraction of these users browse
> > with Firefox on a daily basis.
>
> In August 2012, when the ARMv6 project began, several wiki pages[0] noted:
>
> "We need to support ARMv6 devices to almost double our addressable
> market from 41% currently to ~80% of the total Android install base."
>
> What is the current % of the active Android handset market which is
> ARMv6 today? Is it still higher than "a fraction of 1%"? If so, do we
> think these users are avoiding Firefox due to high resource
> requirements/poor performance on their handsets, or some other reason?
>
> I would be interested to know the results if any retrospective work has
> been done to see whether the gains we hoped for at the time we initiated
> this project have in fact materialised. (Obviously, the memory reduction
> work turned out to be valuable for other reasons, e.g. Tarako. I'm not
> saying that we shouldn't have done it.) Was such analysis part of the
> decision to stop producing builds?
>
> Gerv
>
> [0] e.g. https://wiki.mozilla.org/ARMv6_support_-_phase_1 ,
>          https://wiki.mozilla.org/Mobile/ARMv6
> _______________________________________________
> dev-planning mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-planning
>


ARMv6 devices have very limited storage for applications. Sizes for
application storage vary though it is common to find devices with ~128MB of
storage. Non optional Google Services and Google Play updates consume 45
MB. Leaving the hypothetical user with 83 MB. Add in updates for Youtube,
Google Hangouts, Google Maps, other Google apps and popular apps such as
Facebook or WhatsApp result in the device having near 0 free storage.

When we first shipped Firefox for Android the resulting apk was around 15
MB (size on disk). Our APK for Firefox has grown with the increasing
requirements of the web platform. Recent nightlies for ARMv6 are around 30
MB. Starting Firefox and creating a profile results in 40 to 50 MB of
storage used. We have spent 2 years trying to reach this market.It would
take a significantly different application than the Firefox for Android we
are currently building to reach this market. For an application to be
viable on these sorts of devices we would need to be producing an
application much smaller than even our initial Android release. Ideally
this new Gecko application would be in the 5 - 12 MB range. Reducing the
size of the APK to the levels mentioned would require a huge amount of
work.

Kevin
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Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Karl Dubost
In reply to this post by Karen Rudnitski
Karen,

Le 24 juil. 2014 à 19:43, Karen Rudnitski <[hidden email]> a écrit :
> Android 2.2 market share is published by Google for all devices checking into the Play Store (https://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html). We have been watching the market share steadily decline over the past 12 months.

Thanks a lot.

I was wondering how long it takes for a device to disappear. I would love to see the stats by countries. I guess it would show the device waste rate.

As of July 7, 2014, the stats gives

2010-05 Android 2.2   0.7%
2010-12 Android 2.3  13.5%  +7 months
       (Android 3?)
2011-10 Android 4.0  11.4%  +17 months
2012-07 Android 4.1  27.8%  +26 months
2012-10 Android 4.2  19.7%  +29 months
2013-07 Android 4.3   9.0%  +35 months
2013-09 Android 4.4  17.9%  +37 months (~ 3 years)



--
Karl Dubost, Mozilla
http://www.la-grange.net/karl/moz

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Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Gian-Carlo Pascutto
In reply to this post by Karen Rudnitski
On 07/25/2014 04:40 AM, Karl Dubost wrote:

>        (Android 3?)

HoneyComb is <0.1% of the users, so it doesn't show.

I understood that although we haven't officially dropped it (likely
because we still support 2.3.x and it's inbetween?), we won't fix any
minor bugs on it any more.

--
GCP
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Re: Discontinuing support for Android 2.2 and ARMv6 platforms for Firefox for Android

Richard Newman-5
> I understood that although we haven't officially dropped it (likely
> because we still support 2.3.x and it's inbetween?), we won't fix any
> minor bugs on it any more.

We plan to kill Honeycomb support when we ship split APKs: Bug 1039789. Work has begun on this, and some dependencies have already landed.

One APK will be resource-constrained: API 9 only, no tablet or hidpi resources. This should unblock a lot of stranded Gingerbread users with storage constraints.

The other APK will be API 12+ (maybe even 13+).

We might in the future do a 12-15/16+, or 12-18/19+ split, or otherwise slice up the space. IIRC Facebook ships fifteen different APKs to ensure the smallest distribution possible.
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