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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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  • Browsers? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Don't really care about browsers supported by giant corporations. It's Firefox forever for me

    As to the whole notion that somehow the browser writer sees my bookmarks - I have big problems with that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      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 ser

      • Opera innovates (tab browsing, remembering open tabs when shutting down, Opera Turbo, Opera Link/sync)

        Firefox Sync copies.

        I'm surprised the folks at Opera don't just decide to give up, out of frustration that people keep copying their ideas. (shrug) I wonder if Mozilla seaMonkey will also get a sync function.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by stoanhart ( 876182 )

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

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

  • They should just jump to Firefox 8 to be on par with Microsoft IE and Google Chrome.
  • 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.

    • Re:Not impressed (Score:5, Informative)

      by mbrubeck ( 73587 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @09:00PM (#33831996) Homepage
      This article [] explains why the beta uses so much storage, and how we're making it smaller and faster in the next release.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bemymonkey ( 1244086 )

        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 i

        • It is normal for sync to ask for a password/key. Otherwise anybody could grab your private data.

          • Yes, username and password are normal... but there's also a field called "key" which stops Sync from working if left blank. Any idea what that is?

            • I installed Firefox Sync twice recently. The first time it asked for a password and also a "secret passsphrase". A week later, the second time I created a new account for a different set of computers, it generated a twenty-letter key (like "xaedr-gterw-sfdfs-hryns" or something). I guess there was a change in between. If they did not generate a key for you, then the sync key is your passphrase. Apparently it's used to actually encrypt your data (as opposed to the password, which seems to be just for au

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by denilson3 ( 925027 )
      mistake to call this a beta and slap firefox brand on it so soon. this is pure crap still, pre-alpha stuff at least on my droid.
    • Ugly font rendering and kinda jerky on my G2. Also uses a fuckload of ram and storage. I'm not impresses.

      I've just installed it on my HTC Wildfire, but cannot start it. It crashes after several seconds, without error message.

    • First impressions on my N900 - slow and unresponsive. The zooming action is not rendered smoothly and it takes a good few seconds to repaint the zoomed-in area at the new zoom level, in the meantime you're left with pixellated text from where the previous image has been scaled up.

    • HTC Droid Incredible
      Scrolling kind of sucks. At the top of the page it jumps around a lot. Font rendering on a fresh page load hurts my eyes, but if you drag to the right til you can see the "tabs" and then drag back it seems to fix it. I'll stick with the google browser for now.
    • uses a fuckload of ram

      Hands up who's surprised by that revelation.

  • terrible (Score:2, Informative)

    by AvitarX ( 172628 )

    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.

    • by martyw ( 1911748 )
      Android version has to do lots of calls through that problematic Java/Dalvik bindings, so the performance and memory usage is degraded, it will probably never be as quick as the native Android browser that doesn't need to deal with this. The other aesthetical complains like fonts will surely get fixed.
    • 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

      • 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.

        • Classic is better on iPhone at least but commenting is still a little tedious. The async response lags quite a bit.

      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        considering I pasted it from my phone using the default browser I disagree.

        • by vigour ( 846429 )

          considering I pasted it from my phone using the default browser I disagree.

          You misunderstand me, I never made an assumption about the used browser. In fact I too use the default browser, so your point is moot.

      • i can post fine using the default browser on my Nexus One (classic or 2.0)...
      • Maemo's MicroB does the full Web2.0tastic Slashdot, although slowly.

  • It just crashes on start... so much for being useful... I have Sprint's HTC Hero with Android 2.1.
  • Better, but... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jethro ( 14165 ) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @07:57PM (#33831456) Homepage

    I installed it on my Nexus One and tried posting this from there, but it's still way too unstable to do that (it didn't crash, but it kept scrolling/resizing in weird ways).

    It's much improved over the Alpha, but one thing still bugs me.

    Sync won't let you use your own server.

    Firefox Sync is /the/ killer-app for me. It's really the only reason I'd want to use a different browser (barring EXTREME speed improvements), and they've neutered it to the point where it's, well, pointless. I've seen people request this feature ever since the pre-alpha days, to no avail.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mbrubeck ( 73587 )
      See bug 591661 [] where this is reported - one of the comments has a (slightly annoying) workaround to use your own sync server in Fennec.
      • by Jethro ( 14165 )

        Heh, that is a bit overcomplicated, but I'll give it a shot later.

      • by Jethro ( 14165 )

        Eeexcept that about:config brings up a blank page ): Looks like that bug report is for a previous version. Might be something for the current one, though. I'll look around.

  • 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).

  • Firefox on Android is a painful experience. The zooming is jerky. The fonts are ugly. It's not very responsive to clicks. Absolutely a horrible experience. That said, there are sites that just plain didn't work with the default browser that do work correctly with Firefox on Android, so I'll keep it around for that.

    If you haven't had any sites fail with the default browser, skip this for now. If you have, try them with Firefox. You'll probably keep Firefox installed just for those sites.

  • Fox befriends Android, Android unable to feel emotions , Fox feels shunned and burns android's memory. The Droid police looking for "Fire" Fox...
  • Really slow and jerky on my EVO. Google maps didn't work, so I immediately uninstalled.
    • On my Motorola Milestone with Android 2.1:
      • Default browser startup 1s, Newspaper 3 s.
      • Firefox 4b startup 8s, Newspaper 3s.

      Especially for a mobile browser, that's a slow start as it is more likely to be started multiple times per day,rather than burn the batteries by being on or in the background.

      Furthermore I had to throw out a lot of applications to make room for the apk file. It's huge, and it needs to slim down considerably.

      Conclusion, although I'm a Firefox fan, is

  • The install file for Maemo won't install on an N800 (evidently, only the newer N900 - that is one thing I don't like about Nokia; when the newer version comes out, kiss support for the older versions goodbye).

    The Android file might "work" on Android 2.0 or later, but it doesn't work on a Pandigital Novel - it looks like it wasn't built for ARM5.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The install file for Maemo won't install on an N800 (evidently, only the newer N900 - that is one thing I don't like about Nokia; when the newer version comes out, kiss support for the older versions goodbye).

      That is exactly why NOKIA bought mozilla. It is part of their evil plan of dropping support for older... wait a minute!

      On another note the install file for maemo installs fennec 1.1 and not 4beta

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      yes. And since we don't have good drivers for the gps, mer is not an option for me...
      I would love a more stable/customizable OS for my n810, but I don't think it will happen.

  • Enough said... Want a decent browser for Android that reminds you of Firefox? Use Dolphin Browser HD.
    The only difference is the lack of Add-ons, the rest is pristine.
  • I downloaded this tonight for my droidx and my first impression is not good. In about and hour of use i had to force close twice, the phone was horribly slow while it was running, and pages looked terrible. Maybe the next release ill give it another go.

  • If it's an Android Firefox maybe they should have name it Muffet, assuming a firefox is like a daggit.

  • I'll stick with Opera Mobile. It's clearly head and shoulders above the competition, and the only place where it isn't(Flash support) there are other browsers(like Skyfire) to pick up that little bit of slack.
    • by raddan ( 519638 ) *
      I was a big Opera Mobile fan, as I was longtime Blackberry user. Opera gets UIs on constrained devices. That said, my wife recently bought me an iPhone, and the usability of Safari is unquestionably better than Opera. This is probably largely due to the iPhone's better hardware. Anyway, I'm posting from my iPhone, something I could never do reliably from my Blackberry.
  • 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.
    • 11? Try 45+. OK, 30 if you move to SD.

      I thought Google Earth was bad - still 15mb on internal storage after you move to SD - but something like that seems like it should use a lot of space, whereas a browser doesn't.

      Yes I saw the comment earlier from someone linking to an explanation of the size. Still pretty outrageous - I've never seen an android app anywhere close to that big.

  • With the HTC Desire, when you enter the Sync Key the key is visible and what bothers me more, it get's stored in the keyboard dictionary as an unknown word. Why not handle it like a password as the desktop version does? And when visiting [] I wasn't automatically redirected to []. I don't know if this works with other websites.
  • Just (re)installed what I thought was the Firefox-4 beta linked in TFA on my N900.
    Error message "Fennec already installed".
    Uninstalled the original Firefox for Maemo that I had, installed the linked version, and hussah!
    Version information confirms the Maemo-Firefox is Fennec-3.6, not a beta of 4.0

    So old news on the part of Maemo.

  • 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

    • by bbruun ( 1697266 )
      Just saw a bug in my post above:
      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...

      Should be:
      Click an Ajax link that updates a <div> tag and the browser returns to the top of the page - not optimal, but it didn't reset the zoom...

  • My moment is running 2.1 Android and the app kept crashing. I uninstalled it.
  • I love Firefox and Android, but unfortunately FF for Android is still huge and slow. I hope this improves over time, and it probably will, but I thought that maybe since the nightly builds they might have made some kind of breakthrough that warranted Beta status. Not so.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats