Wolvic WebXR Browser Switching To Chromium To Close Performance Gap With Quest Browser

The Wolvic XR browser is switching its engine from Gecko to Chromium.

Wolvic is the open-source successor to Firefox Reality, which was a web browser for early standalone headsets like Oculus Go, the original Oculus Quest, Vive Focus, and HoloLens 2. In 2020 Mozilla laid off 250 employees including staff working on Firefox Reality, and in 2022 handed over the project to "open source software consultancy" Igalia, which relaunched it as Wolvic.

Igalia has continued to develop Wolvic in the two years since, and today Wolvic is available on Meta Quest, Pico, Magic Leap 2, and Huawei VR Glasses. Wolvic still supports Firefox Sync, letting you maintain your bookmarks, tabs, and passwords across devices.

Firefox Reality Browser Under New Stewardship, Now Called Wolvic
The Firefox Reality browser project is being continued by an ‘open source consultancy’ as Wolvic. Firefox Reality is a web browser for standalone VR and AR headsets, a project of the XR division of Mozilla Labs. It first launched on Oculus Go’s store in 2018. In 2019 it launched

The stable version of Wolvic on app stores currently uses Gecko, the browser engine developed by Mozilla that's used in Firefox. But Igalia has now made a new version of Wolvic available for sideloading that uses Google's Chromium browser engine, and it offers significantly better performance for WebGL content, the rendering API for WebXR experiences.

The Quest Browser and Pico Browser built into Meta and ByteDance's standalone headsets already use Chromium, so Wolvic's new version allows it to compete directly with them.

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The switch to Chromium has also enabled Wolvic to add support for controller-free hand tracking in WebXR, the WebXR AR module, and WebXR layers.

Igalia says it's not "immediately abandoning" the Gecko version of Wolvic and will continue to release Gecko builds "for some time". The Chromium version is also not yet complete, missing extensions and sync so far. But over time the Gecko version's maintenance "will slowly give way to maintenance of the Chromium version", and the app store builds will switch to Chromium in the "near-to midterm future".

Igalia notes it's making this decision on technical grounds, not ideological, offering this explanation:

"Chromium is (currently) very advantaged, and doubly so in AOS-based devices. Gecko simply does not have the same level of maintenance or development of its WebXR implementation. It doesn’t integrate well with the engine’s GPU process, nor does it currently receive development priority from Mozilla, which means no new features."

You can download new Chromium-based Wolvic APK for sideloading here.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.uploadvr.com/wolvic-switching-to-chromium/