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Firefox G-Fox: Plush Edition (hands-on)

Brian Heater

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With the introduction of Google's Chrome and stepped-up games from the likes of Internet Explorer and Safari, Firefox is arguably not quite the darling of the browser wars it was when it first hit the scene in 2003. And while Mozilla has certainly made progress on that front, the organization understands that diversifying is an important factor in the future success of the company, first through Thunderbird and more recently through the Firefox OS, a mobile operating system targeted toward users in developing nations. G-Fox, meanwhile, marks a decidedly different direction for the foundation, which has made its name in the world of software. It's an adorable attempt, perhaps, to take the world's bedrooms and playrooms by storm.

The plush is the real-world port of G-Fox, Mozilla Online China's large-headed, big-eyed take on the American mascot, Kit. The fox was first spotted in the wild at last year's Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai. Mozilla Online wasn't talking it up too much at the event, but naturally, we couldn't wait to get our hands on an early build. And for a first-generation product in a new space, we have to say, in the whole time we've been playing around with G-Fox, we've yet to encounter a single crash or slowdown in spite of extensive squeezing, head patting and tossing up in the air, adorably.

Firefox GFox Plush Edition handson

G-Fox is primarily constructed from a bright, orange felt -- and while we're slightly disappointed that Mozilla does not yet possess the technology to construct stuffed animals from actual fire, this route is certainly far more cuddly and less prone to burn down one's home, both definite pluses in the stuffed animal department. As mentioned above, G-Fox is about 75 percent head, making it fairly top-heavy. And while we've not experienced crashes, its proportions do lead to a few minor stability issues -- thought it's nothing that can't be solved by leaning the fox up against a nearby wall -- or maneuvering its tail as a kickstand.

The fox's eyes are great big things, shaped like watery teardrops to help harness maximum adorableness. Its nose, meanwhile, is made of a hard plastic, so you're going to want to avoid tossing it at animals or small children. G-Fox's ears, meanwhile, are floppy affairs, though we found that ours stood far more alert than the one we had originally seen in Shanghai, in spite of the fact that one was pierced with a tag. Attached to the rear of its little body is a big, lightning-shaped tail with the familiar swirling, yellow fire pattern on its end. The nicest details of all, however, are the small pads on the bottoms of its hind legs, features that will no doubt become standard in future browser-based stuffed animal builds.

Firefox GFox Plush Edition handson

It's encouraging to see Mozilla experiment in a new space, and as we wait to gauge the success of the foundation's Firefox OS offering, we can say now that it really hit it out of the park on this front. It's exciting to imagine what future builds will bring -- a pull-string? Tabbed browsing? The future is bright indeed.

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