ARS Technica noticed that Mozilla is now offering H.264 support in the Android edition of its browser, but only to users of Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" devices and Samsung phones with Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwhich". Mozilla was reluctant to support H.264 because it's not an open standard and because the foundation would have to pay license fees to use various patents that cover H.264 technology. The Firefox developers put their hopes on Google's VP8 codec, but unfortunately 80 percent or more of HTML5 video on the web continues to use H.264 so Mozilla had no choice but to support H.264, in its own way:
These concerns led Mozilla to change its policy in March and start work on providing H.264 support in Firefox. The group is sidestepping the licensing concerns by taking advantage of the system frameworks provided on Android that expose the hardware accelerated H.264 features. By leaving the decoding up to the hardware, Mozilla also leaves the license costs up to the hardware suppliers.
The result? H.264 in Firefox on Android just works, though support is currently limited on pre-Android 4.1 devices due to bugs. Mozilla plans to enable support for Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and 3.x (Honeycomb) devices in due course.
Desktops versions of Firefox will also receive H.264 support. Windows Vista, 7 and 8 versions of Firefox will receive it using Media Foundation, Linux distros via GStreamer, and OS X through AV Foundation.