Firefox brings the web to Microsoft HoloLens 2

Firefox Reality, Mozilla's browser designed for augmented and virtual reality, is coming to Microsoft's HoloLens 2.

Firefox rose to fame more than a decade ago on personal computers as a challenger to Microsoft's Internet Explorer. But Firefox is largely unknown on mobile phones and tablets. Now Mozilla is trying to gain a better foothold in VR and AR, which could become important new computing foundations.

And Mozilla is working to ensure the web extends to these virtual realms. We already use the web for exploring, so using the web on AR and VR is a natural fit to some degree. But it takes a lot of work to build a web that people can use with pointers and hand gestures. Web developers still are struggling to adapt to phone's smalls screens and touch interfaces, so there's no guarantee the web will thrive in AR and VR.

"This prototype of Firefox Reality for HoloLens 2 will ensure that the immersive web works for all users, regardless of device they are on," said Lars Bergstrom, director of engineering for Mozilla's mixed reality group, in a blog post Monday. "Building on Microsoft's years of experience with the current HoloLens, we will work together to learn from developers and users about bringing AR content to the web."

Firefox Reality already is an option for VR headsets like HTC's Vive and Facebook's Oculus Rift. As for AR, which overlays computer-generated imagery atop a view of the real world, Mozilla is working with Magic Leap.

It's still not clear how big a deal AR and VR will be, though. The $3,500 HoloLens 2 features impressive hardware, but it's not designed -- or priced -- for a mainstream market. Microsoft's AR headset is due to arrive later this year.

Mozilla announced the news Sunday at Mobile World Congress, the Barcelona, Spain, tech conference where Microsoft debuted the HoloLens 2.