Most desktop web browsers have become fully-featured to the point that many extensions have sometimes become pointless or redundant. That’s not the case on mobile where features that are available on desktop versions are often absent or technically impossible to implement. Extensions and add-ons still matter on mobile browsers and Mozilla is making a change that will make it easier for Android users to install those extensions, not that there are many of them in the first place.
On PCs and Macs, installing browser extensions is a simple process of going to an “app store” for extension and clicking on an install button on the extension’s page. That’s not the case for the new Firefox for Android, though, as users could only install add-ons from, well, the browser’s Add-ons Manager settings.
Mozilla explains that this discrepancy can be a source of confusion for Firefox users constantly switching between two versions of the browser. Starting with Firefox for Android version 85, that will be changing and users on mobile can simply go to https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/ and install extensions like they would on desktops. That said, that change also requires a server-side update that will take place on January 21, 2021.
Truth be told, the extensions installation experience might be the least of the worries of Firefox users on Android. An even bigger concern is that there are actually very few extensions available right now on the mobile web browser ever since Mozilla released the new version last year.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Mozilla is willing to publicly commit to expanding that number. Instead, it is promising to work on just optimizing that add-on experience for the very few that do exist. Firefox 85 is scheduled to start rolling out on January 25.