Fennec Pre-Alpha Ready For Testing With The Public


Last month, Mozilla reported success in getting their most basic – and arguably ugly – version of Firefox ported to Android. The test was to make sure their browser was easily compatible for Android using the NDK, and compatible it was. Now, it’s been tweaked, stripped, and wrapped up into a nice .apk file for you to check out for yourself.

This build should be considered “pre-alpha”, so there are some warnings and caveats:

  • We’ve only really tested this on the Motorola Droid and the Nexus One.
  • It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
  • 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.
  • You’ll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we’re working to get rid of it.
  • You can’t open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
  • This build requires Android 2.0 or above, and likely an OpenGL ES 2.0 capable device
  • Edit: This build must be installed to internal memory, not to a SD card.

Unfortunately, you’ll need an Android 2.0 or later device with OpenGL ES 2.0 – and it’s only been officially tested for the Motorola Droid and Nexus One – so those of you on anything older won’t be able to get a taste.  As it’s pre-alpha, don’t expect things to be all rosy: there are still a lot of bugs and stability issues. If there’s one thing to take from this early preview, though, it’s that Fennec definitely seems to have a bright future on the Android platform (and given how fast we saw this thing turn around from a preemptive build to pre-Alpha, that future is very near).


If you’d like to try it out on your Android 2.0 or later device, follow this link with your phone’s browser and download the .apk file, or scan the QR code with your phone’s barcode scanner.fennec-android-bitly.


Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Great news! i wonder if its better than the opera browser! which is lightning fast!!

  2. nope

  3. I wish, I wish Verizon would send out the Eris OTA so I could use this.

  4. Seriously anyone with an Eris should just root it and throw a ROM on it. Unless for whatever reason you can’t live without Sense there is no reason you shouldn’t

  5. This is a pre-Alpha release with a lot of bugs left to fix but it is a good start.
    Some of the issues I have found
    1. no on-screen keyboard support.
    2. you have to hold in the “ALT” and “Shift” keys to access numbers and special characters on the physical keyboard. At least on the droid.
    3. No clear method of zooming. No pinch-zoom
    4. Does not utilize the Android menu button. This might make some features easier to access.
    All in all, a really good start.

  6. Sounds nice. I think I’ll wait for beta tho. The stock browser is still the best available, hopefully by the time beta rolls around it will fill in the gaps that are missing in alpha and be a contender.

  7. Will not open on Nexus running CM 5.0.6.

  8. Just crashes back to the home screen for me.

    AT&T N1, CM 5.0.6, Pershoot Kernel.

  9. I like it but it crashed my phone pretty quickly. I look forward to improvements like on screen keyboard support, pinch to zoom, and support for the normal Android keys.

  10. It’s supposed to “crash” at first, then relaunch itself. That is part of the install process. If it doesn’t relaunch though, you have a problem.

    tke789 highlighted some of my concerns, especially the lack of virtual keyboard support and very poor double-tap zooming.

    Also, it definitely uses too much memory on the Droid, causing the OS to kill it frequently when you navigate away.

  11. I just got it to show Iphone fanboys that we android users have firefox. Sure it is buggy now but they will hammer out the bugs in time.runs ok on my Nexus but like said by others no pinch zoom,tap to zoom worked once but not since that one time.

  12. Just a complete fail on Rooted Eris 2.1, Evil Eris ROM. Launch/crash,launch/crash,launch/crash. This is one of the ones you want to use so bad but hate to have it released this early and buggy. Me thinks this may be for the dev gurus out there to pick at and give Firefox some “free” dev to, and yes I know all Mozilla is “free”, but why release it this buggy.

  13. Doesn’t seem to work with a Droid Eris running the leaked 2.1v2. It crashes every time I attempt to run it. I get it to come up for about 2 seconds and I can see “about:first run” in the address bar, but then it just closes.

  14. @n2imagination: this isn’t a release it is pre-alpha it is going to have bugs.

    Works very well for such an early release. it is slow to start and this is to be expected until they get all of the kinks worked out. no crashes though. I have to say i am really liking the layout and the way it renders pages. Opera is fast but it REALLY stinks at rendering pages and always has. The layout is very intuitive here and addons are going to be good as well. This will certainly be my main browser upon true release.

  15. also im confused at the “no onscreen keyboard support” keyboard works perfectly on my N1

  16. It’s 10 effin megabytes! 10!

  17. Tested it my Desire. Some problems with UI. It does not render google docs right (maybe too much to ask), it left some outside the screen that I can not get to as panning opens “menus”. I kind of like the doubble tap to zoom but would like pinch too. Over all seems like a really good start. Would like it to eat less than 90mb memory though

  18. @tke789: double-tap to zoom
    @Bryce: on-screen keyboard does not seem to work on Droid

  19. The onscreen keyboard doesn’t show up at all on the Droid. Also that 10mb turns into over 30 once installed.

  20. 10mb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for reals?

  21. Indeed, installed it takes over 30 MB.
    About the on-screen keyboard: On my Desire it shows up, but its the plain text-version with t9 (used for sms and stuff like that), and not the web-version used in the normal browser which has a special .com button next to the spacebar.
    Sometimes the kayboard suddenly dissappears or just doesn’t show up (even not when the menu-key is hold down for a few secs)
    I have to note that Desire doesn’t use the regular android keyboard

  22. Installs and runs fine on the HTC Desire (Nordic version Android 2.1)
    Unfortunate its pretty useless as Fennec has no support for the virtual keyboard..:(

  23. Over 30 MB when installed. Worth playing around with just to get a taste of what’s to come. But pretty useless right now. I especially like the ability to download add-ons which will allow you to install Weave and sync your bookmarks. Can’t wait for the release version. For now will uninstall because takes up too much space on my N1.

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