If there is one thing that I'm always interested it, it's new browsers for my tablet. I can honestly say that I've used nearly every available browser in the Market - both optimized for Honeycomb and not. While I currently switch between Dolphin for Pad and the stock browser, I've been longing for a Honeycomb optimized version of Firefox for some time. It looks the Mozilla Mobile team heard my quiet cries, as they showed off some of the features of the upcoming browser in an official blog post earlier today.
The newest version of Firefox Beta for Android is out on the Market now, and it brings a slew of UI changes, performance improvements, and other fixes and enhancements. Just check out this condensed changelog:
New in this release for Android:
- New initial experience: Firefox starts faster and uses less memory. Get to your home page quickly and discover browser features on the side panels.
- Higher-quality image scaling: View crisp Web pages and images with less pixelation
- Enhanced Firefox experience on large screen tablets
- Improvements to the form helper on Android
- Fresh visual style on Gingerbread OS
- Optimization for pages that use right to left layout rendering, e.g.
If you liked my speedy QR code tips before, you're going to love the tip I have for you today. Ever since the Android web Market was launched, I found myself loading the homepage just to make a search approximately 17 million times a day, give or take a few. As you know, the web Market homepage is quite heavy, so loading it just to make a search, especially while tethering on a slow connection, was starting to get kind of annoying.
Firefox for Android has come a long way since the project hatched as "Fennec" many months ago - there is no doubt about that. What started as a bloated, slow, and buggy pile of crap (really, it was bad), is now one of the greatest browsers Android has to offer (add-ons ftw!). Don't get me wrong - it's still lacking quite a few features - notably, Flash support, faster font redraw on zooming, better startup times, etc., but Mozilla knows this and is working hard on the next version - 5.0.
As a fan of Ubuntu, I really love using Mozilla Firefox. In my opinion, it is the best desktop browser out there (sorry, Chrome). It was because of my love for Firefox that I became elated when I first heard that Mozilla would be developing a browser for the Android platform.
Having followed the development of Firefox for Android from an alpha and now to a beta, I jumped at the chance to interview software engineer Matt Brubeck, one of the lead developers of Firefox for Android.
As we've seen in the last few days, The Artist Formerly Known As Fennec has really been hitting its stride lately. Riding on this wave of improvement comes a shiny new Beta status, making Fennec now, officially, Firefox 4 For Android Beta.
We won't labour you with details, as many words have been written before about F4FA's arduous journey towards usability. Just get out there and download it.
You might also want to check out Mozilla's official blog post, and their little promotional video at the source link below.
We've seen Fennec (or Firefox for Android as it's now called) gradually progressing over the last few months, reaching a state of real usability in the last couple of weeks. There are many excited by Fennec's journey and the ability have a browser with near-full-desktop functionality, but it seems that even more struggle to see a place for another browser on their phone. After all, the stock Android browser is lightning-quick and works well enough for a pretty satisfying web experience.
Mozilla Firefox for Android (also known as Fennec during development) has now reached a major milestone, with the release of the Alpha version being announced in a Mozilla blog post today by Stuart Parmenter. Joining Firefox Mobile as it enters the Alpha stage are a few more features than had been previously planned for implementation.
Amongst these features is Electrolysis, a very welcome addition to the latest builds, which separates the user interface and the content loading on the page in to two different processes, ensuring that the browser remains responsive even if a large page is being loaded.
Love Chrome's ChromeToPhone’s functionality? Want to achieve the same in Firefox? The world’s second most popular browser, Firefox, has an extension of its own to send links, images, selected text and clipboard from your computer straight to your Android phone with a click of a button.
To use the feature, you’ll need to:
- Download the ChromeToPhone app from the Market (meaning you will need Android 2.2) or by scanning the QR code below
- Download the Firefox extension, which can be found here.
It would be nice to say that Fennec has really been coming along of late. But honestly, from an end-user’s point of view, that’s not really the case; it’s still a massive memory hog, crashes seemingly at random, and takes up an inordinate amount of your phone’s internal storage. However, it is definitely growing gradually more usable, and beneath the rather sluggish front-end, some serious changes are taking place.
The Road To Fennec 2
If you've been following Mozilla Mobile dev @mbrubeck, you may have read about some under-the-hood improvements going on lately, as the internals of the browser undergo a complete reworking.