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Firefox Arrives On Android 164

Barence writes "Mozilla has launched a 'pre-alpha' version of Firefox for Android smartphones. The mobile version of Firefox, codenamed Fennec, has until now been restricted to Maemo Linux handsets. But following a surge in developer effort, Mozilla has unveiled a build for handsets running Android 2.0 or above. Mozilla is making no guarantees about the browser's stability. 'It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot,' writes Mozilla developer Vladimir Vukicevic on his blog. 'Memory usage of this build isn't great — in many ways it's a debug build, and we haven't really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.'"
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Firefox Arrives On Android

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  • by Kludge ( 13653 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:05AM (#32013074)

    I like Firefox mobile on my n900. It works pretty well, gives me features not available in the default browser. I have not had memory leak problems with it. However, it does get sluggish if you turn on flash and visit pages with a bunch of flash ads. I should put adblock on it...

  • by Zeussy ( 868062 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:24AM (#32013290) Homepage
    But I made the fatal mistake of putting it into landscape to get a better keyboard, and it brought my phone (Desire) to a crawl. I assume it was trying to rebuild the page layout, something bad happened and displayed a black page.

    It Shows promise, it is not usable (obviously) but the UI design seems better than the inbuilt browser. With tabs off screen to the left, and navigation buttons off screen to the right.

    Would of been nice to see pinch zoom working, and I am assume that it will (or a custom build that will).
    From what I have seen, when it heads into a more stable phase, I would probably swap right away.
  • Android momentum... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:39AM (#32013504)

    I can smell the momentum in the air with Android. I was one of the first people (suckers/early adopters) to buy a G1 handset from T-Mobile. At the time I had a 2G iPhone. Used the G1 for a week, went back to my unlocked, jailbroken iPhone because it had a bunch of great apps that worked well, better form factor, better touchscreen, and much more usable.

    Fast forward 16 months, during which time the G1 has sat there and gathered dust. I've finally gotten fed up with my 3G iPhone, the closed ecosystem, the limited email application which is the dealbreaker for me (lack of IMAP IDLE still - is not an option for me, and switching email services to support the technologies Steve Jobs approves of is ridiculous). The other day I decided to blow the dust off my G1, update to the latest software (which on a G1 means running CyanogenMod since the official updates are still stuck at Android 1.6 for G1s, and CyanogenMod is a 1.6/2.0 hybrid - and despite rumors to the contrary, CyanogenMod is rock-solid stable on the G1) and see how much things have improved over the last 18 months.

    The openness of the Android platform is what really is blowing me away. Running CyanogenMod, installing themes, downloading up-to-the-minute app releases and bug fixes from open source projects and vendors without having to go through Market is absolutely liberating after 2 and change years of iPhone usage, and having to clamor for every feature addition and update. On Android, if you want a new feature, you can usually find it or you can add it yourself - K9mail is the best living example of this itch-scratching driving innovation.

    Anyway, more specifically on the topic - I don't know if Fennec/Mobile Firefox will be a winner or not in the short run. Most likely it will take a while to get there - remember how long Mozilla took to get to a usable desktop browser? But ultimately, more browser competition on Android will be a very good thing, and AdBlock would be sweet. The fact that we have these choices on Android drives innovation and competition, and is the reason that the platform is currently improving faster than the iPhone platform. And makes it a much more fun place to be as a geek than iPhone-land right now.

  • Just tried it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bloosh ( 649755 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:49AM (#32013650)

    I just installed it on my rooted, custom ROMmed and overclocked Motorola Droid.... and it worked! I played with it for about 10 minutes. It didn't crash my phone, reboot my phone or damage my phone in any way.

    It's absolutely alpha quality software at this point, so don't expect much from it. But it has lots of potential and I'm absolutely confident this will turn into a great browser on Android.

  • by D Ninja ( 825055 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @10:04AM (#32013890)

    I absolutely agree with you regarding the momentum of Android. I know the iPhone still has a significant part of the market share, but, I was at a conference this weekend in which I saw a large portion of the crowd using Android phones. Much of that crowd was made up of college students and young professionals, many who were very technically competent. I know that people who have been asking me which smartphone to get have been getting recommendations to go with the Android platform. I can only assume that other tech-savvy folks are making the same recommendation to their friends and family.

  • by nomad-9 ( 1423689 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:07AM (#32015098)
    First of all, I didn't mean to equate usability Testing with UAT. I put the latter in parentheses, as a possible add-on during that phase, the same way I did for unit testing. True, looking back at it, I could have been more clear, but you throwing insults at me was unwarranted. You could have asked for clarification.

    Second, I have been working in Software development since 1994, so yes, I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable in the field, and do not really need a lecture on testing .

    Third, my breakdown applies to what is *generally* understood by the terms, not by Firefox's own practices, of which I have no particular knowledge, and don't care that much about anyway. There are differences with each company.

    Lastly, if I want more crap from you, I'd just squeeze your little head. So act as an adult, and people will respond accordingly. Or insult, and be insulted. Thank you!

  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @12:33PM (#32016776)

    Well, I originally clarified, but edited my post for brevity. In short - the reason Android came so far in the first 12-18 months post launch was because it sucked at launch, and those early gains were easy. That is true. You can say essentially the same thing about the iPhone of course - at launch it lacked a real SDK or app framework, it was slow and buggy and limited in functionality, so it came a long way at first as well.

    But factoring that first rush of progress out and looking at what's going on right now - things like k9mail and CyanogenMod have no real analogs in the iPhone world. These are improvements to the fundamentals of the platform (email app, home page/launcher, browser, etc.) that are being made by the community, rather than by Google itself or the hardware licensees - though some licensees such as HTC have made their own excellent improvements as well (HTC's keyboard, and their Sense UI).

    I think Steve Jobs is the nail strip - the unwillingness to open up the platform to real changes or innovations from the outside gives Apple more control over the user experience, and may make things more consistent and predictable and profitable for Apple, but it also limits progress in the longer run.

We all like praise, but a hike in our pay is the best kind of ways.