Firefox for Android and Firefox OS, while based on the same Gecko platform, have one key difference with respect to compatibility: their user agent (UA) string. The difference between the UA strings for these two products is the inclusion of the “Android” token in the Firefox for Android UA. The lack of an “Android” identifier for Firefox OS is a good thing, in that it provides sites that employ UA detection to detect Firefox OS as a non Android device and subsequently suppress their Android specific endorsements. However, our research has shown that a large number of sites detect the presence of the “Android” token rather than the “Mobile” token to indicate that a client is a mobile device. Firefox OS, therefore, is frequently misidentified as a non mobile device and served desktop content.
For the initial launch of Firefox OS, we created an UA override mechanism the allows Firefox OS to identify itself as Firefox for Android. This mechanism ensures that Firefox OS receives mobile content for top sites. However, this mechanism is a short term solution and does not scale to the scope of the Web. What we want is to clear out this list by having sites recognize Firefox OS as mobile.
The UA override list currently contains 132 entries. All of these sites have undergone some measure of quality assurance from Mozilla or one of our partners and each has been demonstrated to be functional on Firefox OS.
Here’s where we need your help.
Do you, your friend, your relative, or other acquaintance work for one of the sites on this list? If so, please speak with them about changing the site’s UA detection to recognize Firefox OS. If UA detection is to be used, Mozilla’s recommendation is to detect the “Mobi” token, which will allow for the identification of the greatest number of mobile clients.
For your reference, the Firefox OS UA is:
Mozilla/5.0 (Mobile; rv:18.0) Gecko/18.0 Firefox/18.0
Don’t know anyone at any of these sites but would still like to help? Look for other ways to contact the sites. Other ways that we have found to be effective are to ping the site on Twitter, submit a trouble ticket via the site support or feedback forms on their website, or try e-mailing catchall addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org.
The open list of sites with UA overrides can be found in Bugzilla. For your reference, I have also listed the sites that currently have an UA override below.
2013-03-06 Update: Great support and progress thus far! I will cross off the sites on the list as they are fixed.