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Cellphones Handhelds Mozilla

Firefox Mobile Reaches 1.0 198

Posted by timothy
from the how's-it-handle-baroque-javascript dept.
Majix writes "Firefox Mobile, the mobile browser developed by Mozilla based on the same engine as in the recently released Firefox 3.6, has finally hit version 1.0. The first device to be officially supported is the Nokia N900. With a long list of features, Firefox Mobile looks to be the most complete mobile browser to date. Highlights include the familiar Awesome Bar, Weave Sync for sharing your browser state between your PC and mobile, and of course tabbed browsing and Firefox add-ons. With the Nokia 900 and Firefox Mobile 1.0, even Flash content including the normal YouTube site is working, showing that a mobile browser does not have to equal a compromised Internet experience."
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Firefox Mobile Reaches 1.0

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  • One device? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They released version 1.0 and that's all they support? A whole one device?

    More development needed methinks.

    • Re:One device? (Score:5, Informative)

      by iammani (1392285) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @05:59PM (#30965834)
      Not just one device, it is Firefox Maemo 1.0. Which means it can run any Nokia running Meamo 5.0. There are other versions which are in various stages of development. For eg, its in Alpha 3 for Windows Mobile 6.0.
      Check https://wiki.mozilla.org/Mobile/Platforms [mozilla.org] for more info
      • by mgblst (80109)

        Why the hell are they building this for WinMo? You do realise that Microsoft is not your friend. Microsoft wants to crush firefox. It has forced them to start working again. Why are you helping Microsoft?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rodgerd (402)

          Microsoft is more my friend than Apple, yet they seem to escape such suggestions in the free software world.

    • by quenda (644621)

      It makes sense to start with the coolest device first. You think the best developers want to write for Win-Mo??

      And there are other devices: N810 is official, N800 works too.

    • Re:One device? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by quenda (644621) on Sunday January 31, 2010 @02:52AM (#30968586)

      Actually, it is worse. They support the one and only mobile phone which does not need it.
      The N900 already has an excellent mozilla-based web browser in MicroB. Fennec is very slow in comparison, and unlike to get much acceptance in it's current form.
      (what the n900 needs is a half-decent maps program, or a better mail client, or jave-ME, ... not another browser.)

  • ??? Ok then... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 30, 2010 @05:31PM (#30965654)

    "Firefox Mobile looks to be the most complete mobile browser to date."

    Perhaps if you ignore Opera, Safari and Netfront.. Otherwise, from what I have seen, it mostly sucks pretty bad...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cmunic8r99 (1271724)
      I've never used Firefox Mobile, and probably won't for a long time. Your insistence that Safari and Opera are complete web browsers, however, is laughable. Mobile Safari is by no means a 'complete' browser: no support for add-ons, missing Flash support, etc. Opera Mini isn't even a true web browser - it's a redisplay app like Skyfire, and neither of them are all that great. I can't talk about Netfront because I've not used it either. Got a download link?
      • You fail... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Um, you're confusing Opera Mini with Opera Mobile, which is a full browser.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        http://www.opera.com/mobile/download/
        There are Symbian and Windows Mobile versions.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by heffrey (229704)

        On certain devices (e.g. anything smaller than iPad) a redisplay browser allows you to read the web quicker and more effectively than a full browser.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      How are any of those "more complete" than this? It's practically at a feature parity with the desktop version. (Whether that's wise or useful is up for debate!)

      • by sznupi (719324)

        The point is merely that there are full mobile browsers available for quite some time...and suddenly this FF viral marketing summary comes claiming that Firefox mobile is the first one; well, nothing unexpected really...

        "First one" and available pretty much only for most powerful mobile devices. Meanwhile some of other exisitng full mobile browsers work comfortably on devices roughly an order of magnitude slower.

    • by rdnetto (955205)

      Everything I've read about Firefox Mobile says that it is significantly slower than the native Maemo browser, MicroB. Since MicroB is based on Firefox anyway (and supports several addons), I don't really see what the point is.
      What I'd really like to see ported is Opera Mini - at least it compresses the data for me.

      • by jrumney (197329)
        The original Nokia 770 and N800 used Opera as their browser, so the port has been done, at least for an earlier version of Opera.
  • Nokia N900 win (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dcposch (1438157) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @05:32PM (#30965662)
    ...the N900 is an amazing platform. I know it from a computational photography class at my university: http://graphics.stanford.edu/courses/cs448a-10/ [stanford.edu] It runs a full Linux distro, has a 5MP camera, and now with FF 1.0 I consider it the first phone with a real browser. (IPhone/ITouch/IPad doesn't count because there's no flash and they don't support any browser extensions. Once I can run Flash, Firebug, and Adblock, then it's real.)

    I think it deserves a shoutout especially because
    *) Nokia is truly awful at promoting their products
    *) a certain company that's great at marketing is making all sorts of splash with the antithesis of this phone. it's called the iPad; it runs a Unix derivative, but is an affront to the Unix philosophy. it somehow manages to be three times the size of an N900 with a tenth the functionality.

    I think that N900 + FF Mobile is a real tool in an ocean of toys.
    • by tsa (15680)

      The first iSync plugin for the N900 [maemo.org] came out 6 days ago. Now FF 1.0 is also out for it, I don't think it will be too long before I buy one. That thing really blows the iPhone away. But I still need it to be able to sync with my Mac.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      Awesome though this is, I'm not sure why it's seen as such a new thing. The browser on the N800/N810 (non-phone predecessors to the N900) is Gecko-based and includes full Flash 9 support. It doesn't use XUL, which means that porting something like AdBlock Plus wasn't trivial, but it *was* done - i.e. you can't even argue that it doesn't support extensions (it just couldn't use un-modified Firefox extensions).

      Granted, the version of Gecko on the last N800 I tried was outdated (1.6?) by modern standards, so d

  • Symbian (Score:3, Insightful)

    by heffrey (229704) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @05:39PM (#30965696)

    Why select a minority platform with no devices? Surely someone sane would develop for S60 and perhaps iPhone first (perhaps because Safari probably quite entrenched with iPhone users).

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by barzok (26681)

      Doesn't Apple still prohibit 3rd-party web browsers on iPhone because they would directly compete with software offered by Apple?

      • by AbRASiON (589899) *

        This relationship I'm having with my iphone is becoming a love / hate one. goddamn I hope Nexus One really takes off (and Nexus 1.1 actually works on Telstra in Australia)

        • My wife has an HTC Magic running android and she loves it. She got it bundled with a two year vodafone contract (renewing her old contract). The funny thing is that if you work out the cost of the contracts the iphone is frequently more expensive with the app store lock in, while the android phones are a slightly cheaper with a bit more freedom.

    • Re:Symbian (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ducomputergeek (595742) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @05:53PM (#30965794)

      It would never be allowed on the iPhone. Apple prohibits any apps that complete with their offerings. So no browsers other than Safari. That being said, why didn't they target blackberry first?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by barzok (26681)

        Mozilla has already stated that a BlackBerry port won't happen or if it does, it's at the bottom of the priority list. The BB OS isn't powerful enough to handle it, apparently. http://www.electricpig.co.uk/2009/11/09/mozilla-rules-out-firefox-for-iphone-and-blackberry/ [electricpig.co.uk]

        • https://wiki.mozilla.org/Mobile/Platforms [mozilla.org]

          Firefox for Blackberry
          Sorry, no plans. Due to its Java-based operating system and the inability to build native components, Firefox is not compatible on the Blackberry OS.

        • by cloricus (691063)
          That makes me worry about the quality of the Firefox they've made for 'mobile' computing if it can't even work on a Black Berry.

          I didn't 'get' mobile internet or think it was worth the time of day until my work Black Berry saved my holiday by allowing me to online order tickets from people reselling theirs to a week long festival. This was in the middle of no where using the Opera Mobile browser over 3G while I was standing in the sold out queue trying to get in. By the time I got to the scanning gate
      • According to this [mozilla.org] page they aren't targeting blackberry at all. They say that it's a problem that the platform is based on Java, which seems strange to me since they are working on an Android version and that is also a java based platform.

        • I suspect that the real issue is that most blackberry devices are running distinctly tepid hardware(which is fine for them, BB knows what they are doing in terms of getting their email and messaging clients working on that hardware, and lower spec hardware means cheaper for corporate customers to get more of their employees on blackberry), and you aren't going to get firefox going, particularly with tabs, under those conditions. Android, on the other hand, has seen some rather zippy devices as Google attemp
          • Even the winmobile requirements are pretty harsh (128Mb ram), which pretty much means it can only be used on devices within the past year.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Quantumstate (1295210)

          Android has a native development kit so you can use languages other than Java. It is just primarily designed to use Java.

      • Apple prohibits any apps that complete with their offerings. So no browsers other than Safari.

        Actually, that's not at all accurate. There are several other browsers in the App Store. The catch, of course, is that Apple won't allow interpreters, so you would just need to use the system Javascript library which Safari uses. I can understand how this would be too restrictive for Mozilla to spend much effort on an iPhone port, but to say that Apple doesn't allow browsers because they compete with their own offerings is clearly not true.

        • by BZ (40346)

          You would need to not only use the system JS library, but you also couldn't ship, say, the Gecko XSLT implementation (since XSLT is turing-complete). Could you ship CSS features like calc()? Hard to say.

          Are there any browsers in the App Store that aren't just thin wrappers about the default Webkit and JavaScriptCore?

        • by Scoth (879800)

          A more accurate saying might be no non-webkit browsers. All the browsers in Apple Store are, to my knowledge, still using the iphone/ipod webkit widgets. Thus Apple still has ultimate control over the browsing experience, and can ensure that anything that is a browser or embeds a web browser has the same visual experience.

      • by Xyde (415798)

        There are plenty of other browsers on the iPhone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      By far the path of least resistance.

      The hard part of Firefox Mobile is the fact that Firefox itself has gotten a bit pudgy. All sorts of optimizing and cutting down and whatnot has been necessary to get it to fit on phone hardware(on the plus side, the fruits of this process should be applicable to just about any small embedded device, and possibly back to desktop Firefox). The second hard part is porting to all the various oddball environments running on different phones.

      The N900 pretty much eliminat
      • BAll sorts of optimizing and cutting down and whatnot has been necessary to get it to fit on phone hardware(on the plus side, the fruits of this process should be applicable to just about any small embedded device, and possibly back to desktop Firefox).

        Yes, my first thought was to see if I could install this on my eeepc 701.

        • Check the release notes for the n900 version, they say that it can be installed on desktop linux(albeit with a bunch of "for testing only, some features not available, yadda yadda" caveats. I haven't tried it yet.)
    • by solanum (80810)

      Check here for info on other ports:

      https://wiki.mozilla.org/Mobile/Platforms [mozilla.org]

      As far as Symbian is concerned they say "We currently have no plans to develop Firefox for the Symbian platform." Because after all there are so many more phones running Windows Mobile and Maemo than Symbian.....

      Stick with Opera Mobile, it's an excellent mobile browser anyway.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Because after all there are so many more phones running Windows Mobile and Maemo than Symbian.....

        For one thing, what kind of CPU and RAM are in typical S60 phones compared to Maemo devices? For another, Maemo is much more similar to an existing supported platform (Debian GNU/Linux) than Symbian is.

    • by zullnero (833754)
      1. Because the N900 supports flash.
      2. Because the N900 doesn't have a capacitive touch screen. It takes more work to build a browser that supports really good multitouch properly than just a traditional touch sensitive screen. That said, the N900 does run Linux. And other platforms already have decent enough browser solutions integrated into them. Linux phones benefit from having a good open source web browser, iPhone or Android kind of have interests in promoting their parent company's browsers.
    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      You're right about Symbian, but the Iphone's market share is way behind. I have no idea how it compares to Maemo (do you have a source?), but there are plenty of other platforms they ought to support before the Iphone, if market share was their concern.

  • I read on the website that it can be installed for the N810 as well but I can't find the easy "Install" button anywhere.

    Does anybody know how good the performance is on the N810? The built-in Firefox browser is OK (terrible at javascript though) and I am wondering if this mobile version is any better.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by guysoft (1733770)
      Runs really slow on the N810. And randomly crashes after a minute or so. Its quite a shame.
  • First impressions (Score:5, Informative)

    by dnaumov (453672) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @06:14PM (#30965942)
    The UI felt a bit unusual at the start, but I actually ended up liking it, felt unique and effective. The application start time is a few seconds slower than the Micro browser that ships with the N900, but page load and rendering speed seems toughly equal. The straightforwardness of installing and configuring AdBlocker felt more integrated and polished in the new Firefox 1.0. However, the Firefox has a major deal-breaker for me, it's broken ZOOM function. You're only limited to a "maximum zoom in" or "maximum zoom out" by doubletapping the screen, you can't pick your desired level of zoom by doing a clockwise/counterclockwise drag movement like in Micro. Ctrl-UP and Ctrl-DOWN were supposed keyboard shortcuts for zooming in and out, but these didn't even work at all, the key combinations did nothing (while other shortcuts like Ctrl-L worked normally). This definately feels like a good start, but it's more of a 0.98 version than a 1.0, it just has a few rough edges and needs some polish.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jspenguin1 (883588)

      You also can't use long press to open a menu on a link. No portrait mode, no drag from left to hover, no select mode.

      Until Firefox implements these, I'll stick with the Maemo browser.

    • I have just downloaded the linux version of mobile ff 1 and gave it a spin. Zoom was one of my concerns. On a desktop linux you can zoom into pages and images gradually with the mouse wheel. I guess the functionality is there the browser is just not (yet?) very well integrated in your test platform as it seems.
    • by vinsci (537958)

      Zooming with Ctrl-up and Ctrl-down works perfectly.

      If your physical keyboard layout have the up/down keys in blue, like mine, you must also press the blue arrow together with Ctrl (easy as they are next to each other), otherwise you're really typing Ctrl-left or Ctrl-right.

      While at first it seems handy that the N900 built-in browser, Microb, uses the volume control buttons for easy zooming, it's not so great once you'd actually like to change the volume quickly. (You'd have to use the desktop status area vo

  • Given that flash uses 100% of a core of a high-end x64 processor, it'll be murderous on cell phone batteries. Still, Mozilla is the first mobile browser I'm aware of which may support something like Flashblock. And flashy pages are even uglier and more punishing on a mobile device.
    • by cbhacking (979169)

      The N800/N810 has had a Gecko-based browser since 2008, with full Flash support (version 9, not the "lite" crap). Both AdBlock Plus and Flashblock were ported to this browser. While the ability to use un-modified Firefox extensions would be nice (the older browser doesn't include XUL), the idea isn't so new.

      That said, yes, playing Flash hurt the battery life significantly. With normal browsing (including ABP so no Flash ads), you could get 7 hours continuous use pretty easily. Hit YouTube or Pandora.com, th

  • So according to Mozilla.org [mozilla.org]:

    Firefox for iPhone
    We do not have plans to build an iPhone browser due to constraints with the OS environment and distribution.

    Firefox for Blackberry
    Sorry, no plans. Due to its Java-based operating system and the inability to build native components, Firefox is not compatible on the Blackberry OS.

    Firefox for Symbian
    We currently have no plans to develop Firefox for the Symbian platform.

    So, not available for iPhone, Blackberry and Symbian? Thats what, 3/4 of the smartphone market?

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday January 30, 2010 @07:43PM (#30966520) Journal

    With the Nokia 900 and Firefox Mobile 1.0, even Flash content including the normal YouTube site is working

    Given that the browser that comes out of the box in N900 is already Mozilla-based (in fact, the extension install screen looks conspicuously like Firefox), and can already play Flash, and use ABP, what advantage does this thing have over it?

    • I have a N900. Firefox's UI is definitely better and it feels a little faster.

      • by sznupi (719324)

        That might have something to do with the thing that it "removes" some features...compare zooming implementation for example?

  • The desktop versions are intended for development purposes only.

    WTF? Uh, the N900 is a minuscule segment compared to netbooks, which need a lighter-weight browser (prism does not count) at least as much as the N900. FAIL, FAIL.

  • Firefox for iPhone
    We do not have plans to build an iPhone browser due to constraints with the OS environment and distribution.

    Firefox for Blackberry
    Sorry, no plans. Due to its Java-based operating system and the inability to build native components, Firefox is not compatible on the Blackberry OS.

    Firefox for Symbian
    We currently have no plans to develop Firefox for the Symbian platform.

    I’m sorry. That’s just silly. Those are the 3 biggest platforms out there.
    They are basically saying “Everyone can get Firefox. As long as he’s not using 99% of the platforms/phones out there!”.

    I’ll stay with Opera, which already runs very nicely.

    • by DrXym (126579)
      I'll stay with Opera, which already runs very nicely.

      Which version of Opera runs on all of those platforms? As far as I can tell Opera Mobile is only available for Nokia & Windows Mobile platforms (same targets as Mozilla is aiming for).

      Java systems are stuck with Opera Mini which is basically a dumb client with a server backend that does a decent job rendering but comes with a whole pile of limitations.

      And both versions of Opera are in the same boat as Mozilla is for the iPhone. Apple's ridiculou

  • I know runs contrary to some of the other posts here but I found Firefox for the N900 to be frustratingly slow. The MicroB browser feels far more responsive. I ended up uninstalling Firefox in the end because I just didn't have any reason to use it over MicroB. But even MicroB isn't as fast as it should be - this is inherent in using Gecko, which everyone knows is slower than Webkit, and the difference is especially noticable on a mobile device. It seemed like a very odd choice for Nokia to make. Tear [maemo.org] shows

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