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Mozilla Releases Firefox 4 Beta For Android, Maemo 128

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has released the first beta of its Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo. The browser is based on the Firefox 4 core and should be released in the same time frame as the big brother. The mobile browser includes Firefox Sync, a cloud feature that enables users to sync browsing history, passwords, form-fill data and bookmarks, as well as open tabs." Android news site Androinica also mentions the release, and provides a small tutorial on installing beta apps for Android.
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Mozilla Releases Firefox 4 Beta For Android, Maemo

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  • Re:Nice changes (Score:5, Informative)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @07:17PM (#33831094)
    Sigh, I wish that meme would die a horrible death. Fennec is new and they haven't worked all the bugs out of it, but the whole firefox ZOMG memory leaks thing is really, really old.

    I've tried the portable version and it does have issues, but I haven't seen any evidence of leaks yet. Although admittedly since I've been using daily builds, I haven't been using it very much.
  • Re:Nice changes (Score:5, Informative)

    by teh31337one ( 1590023 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @07:42PM (#33831316)

    It uses 50MB RAM on boot, that's alot, but the app has worked pretty well for me so far. It's not bad, and the potential shines through. Sync works nicely, but there are some bugs with form data (saved data doesn't show up some times). Doesn't seem to like swype much, and forgets to bring up the software keyboard half the time. Page load times are a few seconds slower than stock android 2.2

    Tested on my Samsung Galaxy S GT-i9000 running froyo XXJPK

  • Not impressed (Score:5, Informative)

    by wampus ( 1932 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @07:46PM (#33831348)

    Ugly font rendering and kinda jerky on my G2. Also uses a fuckload of ram and storage. I'm not impresses.

  • terrible (Score:2, Informative)

    by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <`gro.derdnuheniwydnarb' `ta' `em'> on Thursday October 07, 2010 @07:48PM (#33831366) Journal

    I just tried it and couldn't post here it was so aweful.

    Font and/or font rendering was aweful (had to be much larger than either dolphin or default to be readable)

    Double tap did not zoom enough (about 85 characters, I think it's keeping the pixel count true, but when I zoom I expect my characters to have at least one pixel between them, and many don't).

    Slow, but I expected that as it's a beta.

    The start page looks nice.

  • Ugh (Score:4, Informative)

    by MoeDrippins ( 769977 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:00PM (#33831472)

    First big issue for me: the sync credentials page use some non-Android text box, so I can't copy my username/password from my password keeper and paste them in. I use large ugly generated passwords for stuff like that and I REALLY don't want to have to type them.

    Waze does this crap too; why program *AROUND* the interface provided!? Seriously, your text boxes aren't precious snowflakes that are so special as to not use what the OS gives you (and supports).

  • Re:Browsers? (Score:3, Informative)

    by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:07PM (#33831520) Homepage

    Firefox Sync encrypts everything locally using your passphrase before sending to their server.

    The Weave client creates a 2048-bit RSA keypair and a salt value, and derives a symmetric key from the passphrase and salt with PBKDF2. The private key is encrypted with that key and uploaded to the server, along with the salt and cleartext public key.

    For each collection, a 256-bit bulk key and an IV are generated on the client. The bulk key is encrypted with the RSA public key and uploaded, with the IV, to the server.

    https://wiki.mozilla.org/Labs/Weave/Developer/Crypto [mozilla.org]

  • Re:Browsers? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:12PM (#33831562)

    Most of Mozilla's funding comes from Google (a giant corporation).

  • Re:Browsers? (Score:3, Informative)

    by stoanhart ( 876182 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:12PM (#33831564)

    Good thing they can't, then, since all Sync data is very strongly encrypted, and only you get a copy of the encryption key.

  • Re:terrible (Score:5, Informative)

    by C0vardeAn0nim0 ( 232451 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:35PM (#33831776) Journal

    it wasn't because of firefox you couldn't post. it's mobile slashdot that suck donkey ass.

    i tried at least 3 diferent mobile browsers and gave up.

    on mobile space, slashdot is just like microsoft. they just don't get it

  • by mbrubeck ( 73587 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:57PM (#33831972) Homepage
    There's a bug that causes random system freezes on the original Droid and the Droid 2: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=602252 [mozilla.org] Unfortunately we just discovered this today, too late to fix it for beta 1. We'll fix it before the stable release, of course.
  • Re:Better, but... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mbrubeck ( 73587 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:59PM (#33831988) Homepage
    See bug 591661 [mozilla.org] where this is reported - one of the comments has a (slightly annoying) workaround to use your own sync server in Fennec.
  • Re:Not impressed (Score:5, Informative)

    by mbrubeck ( 73587 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @09:00PM (#33831996) Homepage
    This article [limpet.net] explains why the beta uses so much storage, and how we're making it smaller and faster in the next release.
  • Re:Not impressed (Score:3, Informative)

    by lowlymarine ( 1172723 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @09:28PM (#33832180)
    I just tried this out on my Galaxy S. That is the highest-end Android phone on the market right now and guess what? Still runs slower than a one-legged dog. It certainly doesn't help that nothing loaded as mobile versions, either (I suspect that it's failing to broadcast an Android user agent).
  • Re:terrible (Score:4, Informative)

    by vigour ( 846429 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @09:40PM (#33832252)

    it wasn't because of firefox you couldn't post. it's mobile slashdot that suck donkey ass.

    i tried at least 3 diferent mobile browsers and gave up.

    on mobile space, slashdot is just like microsoft. they just don't get it

    Try the classic comments mode. I have it set to that, and I no longer have problems reading /. from my HTC Legend.

  • Re:Nice changes (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lukey Boy ( 16717 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @10:16PM (#33832444) Homepage
    Actually, it has 256 megs of RAM and 768 megs of swap on an internal flash device.
  • Re:Nice changes (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 08, 2010 @12:56AM (#33833196)
    Dude, please don't sit there and pretend 768 MB of swap is anything like 768 MB of actual RAM. Seriously, just don't. Furthermore, a rooted Android device can be configured for as much swap space as your heart desires as well as compressed cache [cyanogenmod.com].
  • Re:Not impressed (Score:3, Informative)

    by bemymonkey ( 1244086 ) on Friday October 08, 2010 @01:54AM (#33833380)

    That doesn't make it alright. This thing used about 30MB on my Desire, and I'm running Apps2SD with an EXT3 partition, meaning those 30MB probably all landed on /data/. You ARE aware that most Android devices currently out there have far less than 200MB of storage space, right?

    Nevertheless, I installed it, and was severely disappointed. The performance is in NO way that of a typical Firefox beta, the menu button seems to be without function (seriously, wtf?), Sync asks me for a key of some sort (my memory is a bit wonky, but I have three laptops connected via Sync, and I don't remember a key of any sort), and the rendering is the worst I've seen yet.

    As a huge Firefox fan, I'm so disappointed that I'm not sure I'll be trying the final. Unless that Apps is rebuilt from the ground up, it's just not fit for Android use.... Seriously, has anyone on the team actually compared the performance.and functionality to.the Webkit browser, or Firefox on any other platform, for that matter?

    Now if this was a pre-alpha, or hell, a proof of concept, okay... but like this? I don't understand why you would release this :(

  • Re:Not impressed (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 08, 2010 @02:09AM (#33833430)

    There's also the fact that it hammers the network connection incessantly, which absolutely kills the battery

    Network access is actually not the main reason it uses more battery power than you'd expect (although that might also be a factor depending on the website). The main reasons are timers and various miscellaneous inefficiencies. But the good news is that a large portion of that work has recently been finished, and consequently the current nightly builds will use much less power than the just-released beta. So by the next beta things should be much improved, and by the final release they should be even better, on par with other apps.

    If you're curious, here's a technical blog post about the methods being used [blogspot.com].

  • 11+ MB? (Score:3, Informative)

    by VincenzoRomano ( 881055 ) on Friday October 08, 2010 @02:45AM (#33833530) Homepage Journal
    It's a really huge application in the Android world, though.
    I hope the RCs and the finale releases will be slimmer.
    And I hope it will get its way to the market.
    And I hope Google will release Chrome for Android as well, a main missing app there.
    Welcome the the mobile browser wars.
  • by RonVNX ( 55322 ) on Friday October 08, 2010 @04:27AM (#33833892)

    You can install Firefox Sync on your own server (like I have), and then Mozilla won't even see your encrypted data.


  • by bbruun ( 1697266 ) on Friday October 08, 2010 @07:09AM (#33834354)
    I just tried to install it. Needed to clear some space from other applications, as FF4 beta for Andriod takes up 40+Mb - that is a huge amount for a mobile app, compared with eg Dolphin Browser HD at approx. 3½Mb.

    Boot time (initial start of FF when not returning to it, but used a task killer) is as slow as booting my Ubuntu 10.04 desktop 64bit system with 8Gb RAM - not good.

    Firefox does render a page nicely, without much difference from the desktop version, but renders it in fullscreen (entire page on screen).
    No setting for "mobile view".
    No easy setting for default zoom level. When following a link, the next page is rendered at the same fullscreen zoom, so new zoom is needed.
    Click an Ajax link that updates a

    and the browser returns to the top of the page - not optimal, but it didn't reset the zoom...

    There aren't any customizations that are easily available, not enven enough to compare with a small fast browser like DB mentioned above or SkyFire. The general look/feel of FF for Android is a very basic app that should still be in alpha as the customization menu is very odd and not polished compared with other smaller and similar programs.
    Mozilla, please don't make Android apps that divert from the way Android apps are supposed to do, use the menues, and respect the backbutton when pressed... aka kill your current download/render of a page if the backbutton is pressed, don't continue working on something that the user want's to stop.

    My device is HTC Desire with latest HTC Android 2.2, so it is not an old G1 I'm using, though FF4 beta for Android feels like it is running on a G1.

  • by ndtechnologies ( 814381 ) on Friday October 08, 2010 @03:27PM (#33839608)
    My moment is running 2.1 Android and the app kept crashing. I uninstalled it.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.