Revamped Android build of Firefox now available

Mozilla Firefox is one of the most popular web browsers in use in the present day, and due to its open-source nature, Firefox has always had a good starting position. Of all the platforms it's available on, it never really took off on Android devices, but Mozilla are now tackling this, as CNET report.

The revised mobile version of Firefox is, at present, only available on the Nightly build channel. Should everything go well, the browser will filter down through the different channels before entirely replacing the older Firefox. Since Firefox is only available on Android, Mozilla's battle to gain a foothold could be a challenge. The fact that the browser sports a name as well known on the internet as Firefox could tempt some people away from their current mobile browsers, and the redesigned and enhanced browser has the potential to rocket to the top of the download chart when it's made available through the main channel.

Mozilla will also hope that developers move quickly to update add-on extensions that no longer work with the nightly build, and is presently trying to find a way to make developing add-ons to replace those rendered incompatible faster. The company believes it may be possible for them to make use of their Mozilla Labs' Jetpack extension in order to make use of currently existing apps.

Due to the nature of the Mozilla community, and its structure of both end-users and developers, the community has not been outspoken regardless of which side of the fence they sit on about the change. Of the people who make their opinions known, many of them want to retain the current build of Firefox due to the large number of add-ons available for it. Those who want their browser to evolve into Mozilla's new design are heralding the improved performance and smoothness of Firefox on mobile.

Whatever your opinion of the change, the browser's new look should win a lot of people over.

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22 Comments

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I use Opera Mobile and love it. But when Google Chrome for Android is officially released, I'll more than likely use that (assuming it's just as good as the PC version).

I love Opera on my phone, hate it on my Desktop. Funny, that.

bjoswald said,
I use Opera Mobile and love it. But when Google Chrome for Android is officially released, I'll more than likely use that (assuming it's just as good as the PC version).

I love Opera on my phone, hate it on my Desktop. Funny, that.

i use it either. but honestly UI looks outdated. back in time it was a real revolution. but now it's just not enough.
- switching between tabs takes too long
- up-down scrolling won't stuck to text column (in stock webkit once you started scrolling up-down you can't move page right-left. this increases usability a lot)
- address bar isn't well orginized (i like the way firefox it has - top, bookmarks and history under address bar - big improvement in usability as well)
- notification bar won't appear by pressing menu in fullscreen mode

- no extensions after all

there is a big room for improvements. but development seems completely stopped.

bjoswald said,
I use Opera Mobile and love it. But when Google Chrome for Android is officially released, I'll more than likely use that (assuming it's just as good as the PC version).

I love Opera on my phone, hate it on my Desktop. Funny, that.

i use it either. but honestly UI looks outdated. back in time it was a real revolution. but now it's just not enough.
- switching between tabs takes too long
- up-down scrolling won't stuck to text column (in stock webkit once you started scrolling up-down you can't move page right-left. this increases usability a lot)
- address bar isn't well orginized (i like the way firefox it has - top, bookmarks and history under address bar - big improvement in usability as well. also you can't unselect text when clicking on address)
- notification bar won't appear by pressing menu in fullscreen mode

- no extensions after all

there is a big room for improvements. but development seems completely stopped.

Despite being a desktop Firefox user since its inception, even the latest version of Firefox Beta seems slow and glitchy compared to the full Opera Android browser. It'll have to take something better than this to make me switch.

Hopefully they will catch up soon as I don't really want to class myself as an Opera user...

JohnnyLemonhead said,
Despite being a desktop Firefox user since its inception, even the latest version of Firefox Beta seems slow and glitchy compared to the full Opera Android browser. It'll have to take something better than this to make me switch.

Hopefully they will catch up soon as I don't really want to class myself as an Opera user...


latest build feels faster than opera mobile. but it's broken. just renders webpage as raster image, which is inactive - zooming doesn't work (ie you only zoom visible part of page into large pixels), text reflow doesn't work and you can't click links.

what channel is it?

installed latest-mozilla-aurora-android - but it's still old ugly, laggy garbageware with annoying tabs on side and 1fps scrolling.

Neobond said,
Should be in the nightly channel (Aurora?)

The channels are organised like this:
Nightly > Aurora > Beta > Release

england_fanboy said,
Looks horribly ugly and unusable.

Hardly looks unusable... But sure doesn't look very good you're right about that...

It pretty slow and heats up my phone the last version I tried it.
I guess I'll just wait for the ICS browser.

Dolphin was good but i steered clear of it since the recent security fiasco.

FloatingFatMan said,
Sod the UI, can it actually render images as anything other than pixellated garbage, yet?

Yea that it does fine, has done for quite a while, it's not opera we're talking about...
The question can I open three links in new tabs at normal pace without it locking up the entire device?

Looks better, but they still need to get rid of that damn new tab button. Ruins the whole appearance. They should just put it in a menu.

Does it still show the tabs list on the side when you swipe to the left/right (I forget which)?

With the stock Ice Cream Sandwich browser getting rave reviews Firefox Mobile will have to pull off something special to entice Android users to use their browser.

the_ozyrys said,
As for me, when they get closer to stock browser speed, Adblock plugin will be enough to win me.

Could also install Adfree if you have a rooted device