Firefox for Android's slick new UI

Ars Technica had a chance to try out Mozilla's new Firefox UI for Android, and they were quite impressed. The new UI is aimed at smartphones, unlike the version that was released for Honeycomb tablet devices in September.

Firefox's experimental mobile branch, known as Birch, developed the new interface, which also involved some major architectural changes to the venerable browser. Although Ars Technica encountered a few issues with the current test version, the new UI is a drastic improvement over previous versions. Everything has been simplified and streamlined; tabs are managed with a simple menu accessed from an arrow to the left of the navigation bar, while the URL box, bookmarks, and history are hidden until you need them.

Functions like refresh and forward are tucked away in the native Android menu. Oddly enough, there is no back button; you'll have to use your phone's physical back button if you want to go back. And of course, it wouldn't be Firefox without those glorious extensions; the add-on interface will be accessed through an overflow menu and opened in a new tab, although it's not isn't quite working yet.

 

In the end, this looks like a promising new version of Firefox, and the slick new UI makes it quite attractive. And since it functions as a native widget now, Firefox will be able to boot up faster, something that was very noticeable previously, as well as having a smaller memory footprint.

Mozilla is looking for volunteers to help them test the software before rolling out a stable release. You can get more information on how to download at participate over at their website.

Images courtesy of Ars Technica

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firey said,

. . . still wondering why there is no Chrome for Android.


Because there's not much point ... page rendering and layout would be exactly the same
on an Android version of Chrome, as it is on the browser that's included with Android,
since they'd both be built upon the same WebKit browser engine.


DJGM said,

Because there's not much point ... page rendering and layout would be exactly the same
on an Android version of Chrome, as it is on the browser that's included with Android,
since they'd both be built upon the same WebKit browser engine.


Browser in ChromeOS is about 100x better than the stock Android one on the same hardware. No excuse really.

firey said,
Hmm, I've always used DolphinHD for the Browser.. still wondering why there is no Chrome for Android...

Because they don't have yet found a patent to infringe

Gotta tell you, I don't like Opera at all on the desktop.. but after using Firefox, and DolphinHD... Opera is the best when it comes to the UI and it is also faster then both of them, by far.

Still looks like crap to me. Wonder if it still runs like crap. I've yet to find a reason to switch from the stock browser still.

Oh dear, Mozilla completely missed the boat on using the new fragment APIs in Ice Cream Sandwich, which when it will ship will be outdated already.

Detection said,
Horrible, bad rendering, within 2 pages I got a FC, even the error reporter crashed

Honeycomb 3.2.1

Did you report your feedback, like they were asking you to?

Majesticmerc said,

Did you report your feedback, like they were asking you to?


nope, he said effit, I'll just use something that is already available and superior.

flexkeyboard said,

nope, he said effit, I'll just use something that is already available and superior.


If any pre-release software products are to improve, whether they're classed as beta, alpha,
experimental, or "bleeding edge", and have bugs and imperfections fixed, such arrogant,
p*ss poor, pathetic attitudes do NOT help anyone at all.

As I'm sure most people that come to Neowin are fully aware, but for benefit of the likes
of Mr Effit Ignoramus there ... the whole point of any pre-release software is to install it,
test it, and when you discover a bug, you report it to the developers so they can fix it.

I like the new tab interface and performance of the nightly but the new url bar seems unnecessarily clunky looking. The old one looked much better.

I tried an older FF for Android, worked well enough until I hit a page with Flash. I had Flash installed, but FF wouldn't use it. That was as far as my FF testing got on Android.

Slugsie said,
I tried an older FF for Android, worked well enough until I hit a page with Flash. I had Flash installed, but FF wouldn't use it. That was as far as my FF testing got on Android.

Does the Flash Browser Plugin actually support browsers not at least somewhat based on the stock browser?

Well, that's not Metro. It's RETRO. It looks like some horrible software from the mid-90s. But then again, the whole Android UI is just that.

england_fanboy said,
Well, that's not Metro. It's RETRO. It looks like some horrible software from the mid-90s. But then again, the whole Android UI is just that.

The 90's called, and they want their Windows Phone tile ui back. lol

I tried it and besides the ****ty impression you get with those shortened pictures, it looks incredibly smooth in person, minimal and i loved accessing the options with my phone's buttons. The interface is lovely simple everywhere.

Why add buttons on the interface when you already have your phone's there?

I only had one problem: it didn't load a single page but who cares, it's not even alpha. But loved it!

I'm just not sure about Mozilla's new design with the desktop browser that might come out soon. It looks nice to the eye but I'm a metro fan because it mixes good design with maximum functionality.

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