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Bring On Firefox Mobile For Android

Ok. I’m going to just say it – I’m really eager to see Fennec make it to Android.  Lately I’ve been seeing a few articles on it, watching a couple videos, and subsequently my mouth has been watering.  I’m not even a Firefox power user ( but I do have a few Add-0ns I use) and I want it.  So I’m sure there are some Firefox fans that are with me here.

(There is another video on Mozilla’s Mobile Page.)

I’m not sure what excites me more – the overall layout of the browser or the Add-ons. I love how all the controls as well as tabs are on the left and right of the screen, which you can access with a simple swipe. Location aware is pretty nifty as well but, I’ll say it again, it really is the security and Add-on features that make Firefox, and will make Fennec too .

There are already a number of mobile Add-ons available, here are a few recommended by Gigaom:

  • First and probably most important is Mozilla’s Weave Sync, which connects your Firefox history, bookmarks and open tabs from your PC to your phone. So when you load up Firefox on mobile, you can leave off right where you were when you were at the office. If you type a few letters into the URL bar, it knows from experience where you’re most likely to want go.It’s not hard to imagine how useful this could be; a continuous personalized experience just makes sense. However, early adopters beware; current reviews of the add-on are mixed.
  • Are you the kind of person who loses your phone often? Meet FireFound. Every time your phone changes location, it will send its coordinates to a server. If your phone ever gets stolen or misplaced, you can log in and see where it is. What’s more, you can even clear all the personal data saved in your browser remotely.
  • There are already a couple of add-ons to help you deal with fat-fingered input on your miniature keyboard or touchscreen. Lazy Click applies clicks to the nearest clickable object, and URL Fixer fixes common typos, like .cmo for .com. There’s also an experimental add-on called Fennec Gestures that shows how a user might be able to control their browser with gestures (see video demo).
  • Using mobile web pages really blows sometimes, but here are a few add-ons to ease the pain: AutoPager automatically loads the next page when you get to the bottom of one; Fastest Scroll in the West makes skimming long pages quicker; and Mobilize helps you switch to mobile versions of sites, if they exist.
  • There are a couple of early geo add-ons, too. GeoGuide loads up map, pictures, weather, events and Wikipedia entries based on where you are. Near Me uses your location to do a search of local businesses.
  • If you’re a frequent tweeter, you might install TwitterBar to update Twitter directly from the Firefox address bar. The add-on puts a Twitter icon in the bar, which you can click on to tweet or hover over to see how many characters you have left. There’s also a similar add-on for Identi.ca. Both are available for regular Firefox, but you can see how much more useful they would be on a tiny handset screen.

fennec2

fennec3

Features
Firefox for your mobile phone comes complete with favorite and familiar features that you enjoy on your desktop:

The Awesome Bar searches your history, bookmarks and tags to go to your favorite sites instantly
Share your Firefox preferences, history, and bookmarks between your desktop and mobile
Add-ons to make your browser your own
Tabs that let you browse multiple sites at once
One-touch bookmarking to quickly organize websites
And more…

Benefits for Developers
Put your innovations in the hands of people all over the world to access anytime, anywhere
Build rich mobile applications using the latest Web technology like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.
Tap into the device capabilities of the phone, such as geolocation, camera and calling
Develop game changing add-ons on the first mobile Web browser to offer add-ons

It will come as no surprise to see Fennec on Android, it’s just a matter of time. For those that need a more solid confirmation – see the platforms page or this interview. We’ll keep our eye out and keep you guys informed but in the meantime – is anyone as eager as me to put this at the top of their choice-of-browser list?

[ Gigaom | Gigaom2 | DroidDog | Interview | | Mozilla Mobile ]




  • jason

    TOR plz…

  • http://pickledpc.com Pickle

    Awesome, this should only help improve the already good browsing experience on Android.

  • Anthony

    Can’t wait, still surprised that there is no “Chrome” browser on the phone yet.

  • some1

    will it have multi-touch?

  • MonkeyCheese

    lol “say i’m oot” oh Canadians you make me laugh with your accent. Its one of the reason why i love watching hockey.

    But all in all its seem like its a pretty damn good browser. I can’t wait to give it a try.

  • Chris

    I excited to have Firefox Mobile too if it has support for extensions. I’m really surprised that Google hasn’t been quicker about launching a mobile version of Chrome for the Android platform. But Chrome Beta was just released this week for Mac and Linux so it sounds like the Chrome team have a lot on their plate at the moment.

  • Jan Itor

    My laptop can barely handle Firefox with all 112 of my live bookmarks. Especially when the live bookmarks are reloading. How is a smartphone going to handle that?
    Guess I’ll find out when I get a Nexus/Bravo.. or just stick to feedly.

  • TF

    I’ve been anxiously awaiting Fennec… and your article here compiling the add-ons and features just makes me want it more. I’m happy with the stock browser for now though, I’ll patiently wait for the fine-tuning for Android.

  • Jeff

    Oh wow. To bring my Firefox settings over from my PC!! OHHHHH!

  • VicMatson

    RoboForm as fast as you can, even if you gotta help them! Syncing from my PC, say it isn’t so!

  • QuantumRand

    That “Awesome Bar” feature they’re pushing so hard would be pretty useless without a physical keyboard…

  • gambrinus

    I would kill to have a web browser with adblock on my phone.

  • http://www.riela-racing.nl/ Nick

    @Chris: The Android browser in some ways IS Chrome.
    They even mentioned that Chrome OS and Android will converge in the future.

  • Nathan H.

    Yeay for Firefox.
    Multi-touch please.
    I don’t think the current Android browser is Chrome at all, and I really think Google should port Chrome to Android. And actually, there have it on their list to “suggest a feature”. http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/static.py?page=suggestions.cs&issue=107371&bucket=15648

  • ari-free

    “That “Awesome Bar” feature they’re pushing so hard would be pretty useless without a physical keyboard…”

    Droid does…

  • Maj

    Android’s browser is not Chrome (a member of the Chrome team told me that before). In other words, Android’s browser team is different that Chrome’s.
    And why would google compete with itself and dedicate another team to build a browser for Android while they already have built one for it !!!

  • ddk19

    i kinda feel bad for dolphin browser because they already came up with most of these ideas but couldnt really keep it workin rite @ the same time sooo Sucks for them, ima hop on this once it drops on the market

  • luthepa1

    I read that Fennec is not coming to Android because they were told they must code it in java like all other android apps and fennec is in AJAX. Can someone please show me evidence I am wrong and/or this has changed? Because I would absolutely love to see Fennec on android. I also want a browser that can have bookmark folders to tidy up my 596 bookmarks I have.

  • http://phandroid.com Talton "Phases" Pettigrew

    luthepa1: See the last paragraph in the article. :)

  • Carig

    I find my lack of restraint with firefox add-ons to be a problem. I use chrome now because my firefox loads very slow and I can’t get my self to delete or turn off any more of my remaining add-ons. I imagine this would be a much bigger problem in the mobile realm as lack of sufficient processing power is already a big issue. If this mobile firefox can stay fast with all the add-ons I’m gonna be tempted to put on it then that’ll be great, otherwise I dunno.
    .
    And @luthepa1,
    read this: http://androidandme.com/2009/10/news/mozilla-firefox-coming-to-android/

  • Carig

    The article doesn’t really explain that Google releasing the android NDK made Fennec possible for Android. But that’s what happened.

  • http://www.johnsanford.net/ John Sanford

    luthepa1: AJAX is not a programming language but a technique to make interactive websites.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajax_%28programming%29

  • Chad

    Just give me mobile firefox with adblock plus and I’ll be a happy camper. But for some strange reason, I think Google might have a problem with that…

  • http://l3reak.blogspot.com/ l3reak

    There’s a project that I help with online, and the Firefox add-on that we use, though very simple, is almost a necessity. Being able to work on it on the go would be a huge help, so I can’t wait for Fennec so I can bug our extension guy to work on a mobile version!

  • kurt

    I’ve been watching and waiting for Fennec for some time. Opera and Steel never seemed to seriously try to improve their convoluted UI issues over their good bases. Dolphin is the first success (for me at least). Lets hope Mozilla continues the trend with a functional browser. It seems the common issue is dealing with such limited screen real-estate and potential for functionality. The editing(cutting back) and menu-designers will likely make or break this browser.

  • Haruspex

    Still liking Dolphin a bit more than what I’m seeing here for Fennec, aside from the Awesome Bar and Extensions. Dolphin has multi-touch, Fennec so far does not. Dolphin has much larger, swipe-through previews of all your tabs, Fennec so far does not. Dolphin has Delicious and sharing integration, Fennec so far does not. Perhaps extensions will make up for this for Fennec, although not so sure about the multi-touch. Being able to quickly pinch-zoom in and out of pages is a blessing, and it’s the one deal breaker for me (even the Awesome Bar isn’t enough to sway me from that). When/if Fennect gets multi-touch, then it will be a no brainer to get Fennec. Until then, I’m still in love with Dolphin.

  • http://www.wirelessmetro.net Rich Lofton

    flash? skyfire for android with pinch to zoom would be HUGE. off the subject (OUTLOOK SYNC)

  • Gunner

    Skyfire, exactly. Been wondering why that hasn’t happened yet. I could do flash on my old WinMo phone from ’06 thanks to Skyfire.

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  • pdott

    Firefox will begin showing up on mobile devices at the end of this year. I got the chance to test a beta version of Firefox on a pre-release mobile device. The browser, code-named Fennec, is the closest thing yet to a real, desktop-class browser for mobiles.
    Wow, its about time that Firefox shows up on our mobile-phones! More details: http://bit.ly/android-firefox-details

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