In an official blog post, Opera has confirmed that they are working on Opera Mobile for Android. Opera Mobile will bring with it pinch-to-zoom support and hardware acceleration. Hardware acceleration will allow Opera Mobile to run at lightning speed and make panning and zooming smoother by making optimum use of the GPU power.
Opera has promised to deliver the first public beta of Opera Mobile within the next month’ and it will be available via Android Market or m.opera.com. The Norwegian browser company will also be releasing an updated version of Opera Mini for the iPhone with hardware acceleration and pinch to zoom support.
With Mozilla also working hard on Firefox for Android, the Android browser competition is sure going to heat up.
Finally, after quite a long time, Firefox’s mobile version Fennec is available for download for phones running the Android OS version 2.0 or higher and the Nokia N900 Maemo phone. Fennec is still in its Alpha stage and is far from rock-solid and stable. Development is slow, but it promises to deliver seamless web experience between your desktop and mobile. It includes the Firefox Sync addon and increased performance due to two major technologies that were implemented in the current iteration called Electrolysisand Layers.
Electrolysis is a technology that allows the Fennec interface to run as a separate process from the web renderer, improving stability and increasing usability. Fennec can thus react faster to user input instead of being bogged down by a large page that is being downloaded. The Beta version of Fennec will start taking advantage of Layers to greatly improve performance in graphic intensive actions like scrolling, zooming, animations and video.
You can download Fennec from the Mozilla site. Don’t forget to read the release notes. Do remember that this is an Alpha build and might not be stable or fast. Fennec Alpha currently runs on Android 2.0 or higher, or the Nokia N900.
I am so tired of hearing all about Fennec and seeing it MIA on Android. We have heard so much about the Firefox experience on mobile and Fennec has not yet been able to release the final version 1.1 for Maemo. This project seems to be moving extremely slow. Moreover, the last time I tried Fennec for Android, the user interface was lagging extremely on my HTC Legend.
Though, the project itself seems to be making some progress and has released plans for its version 2.0. Readers must take note here that these are not release plans. These are just plans for features to be present in Fennec 2.0. Two important changes laid out by Mark Finnacle, in his blog are,
- The introduction of out of process plugins (The Electrolysis project)
- The increase in rendering speed of pages (The Layers Project)
The Mozilla Platform Evangelist has also written that,
Significant amounts of platform work have been done on both projects. Fennec 2.0 will integrate both Electrolysis and Layers.
However, my question is when will we see an actual release of Fennec? Developers are working on Fennec 1.1 at an extremely fast rate according to the developers and Fennec 2.0 alpha is coming soon. Therefore, we will still be using unfinished builds until Fennec 1.1 makes a final release. Godspeed Fennec.
Earlier today, Mozilla dropped the first public build of Fennec for the Android platform. Fennec is the codename of Firefox for mobile, which is also available for Nokia’s Maemo operating system.
It is still early days for Fennec on Android. The released build is merely a pre-alpha and in the words of Vladimir VukiÄ‡eviÄ‡ should be considered “a debug build”.
For the moment, Fennec requires Android 2.0 (or newer) operating system, with OpenGL ES 2.0 compatibility being recommended. Moreover, Fennec has only been tested on the Nexus One and Motorola Droid. Some of the other caveats described in Mozilla’s official announcement are:
- 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 must be installed to internal memory, not to a SD card.
If you are feeling adventurous you can download the pre-alpha build from here.
Mozilla has announced a mobile add-on challenge running for a month. Your challenge is to develop an add-on by Monday, the 12th of April. The add-on should be compatible with the latest version of Firefox and should be compliant with the mobile UI style guide. Some possible themes on which add-ons can be developed are:
- Using device APIs like using functionalities of the camera.
- Social and sharing tools like tools for photo sharing and twitter clients.
- Saving files as PDF and other possible options.
This is just a rough idea. Innovative developers will aim beyond this like the CUDA Jetpack winner. Add-ons are supported by both Firefox for Mobile on Windows Mobile and Maemo. This gives developers a wide platform for testing and deployment. According to the contest announcement, the prizes and incentives enjoyed by the winners will be:
A new Nokia N900 Firefox mobile official launch t-shirt Firefox mobile phone cover Promotion of your add-on!
Development resources and contest details are available at this page. The challenge is an attempt to involve more developers into the development of Firefox add-ons for Fennec. The idea of winning ten Nikia N900s is intriguing in itself.
Firefox is the world’s most customizable browser. It has got awesome add-ons, it has an awesome cloud based backup solution for all your bookmarks and personal data and it just got even more awesome with the release of a Mobile version. With the mobile Firefox Fennec for Nokia N900, you can use all the popular features from the desktop browser right into your Nokia N900 mobile. This comes as a boon for those of you who are die-hard fans of Firefox.
This release of Firefox for mobile recently got officially accepted by Nokia to be put into the Ovi Store. The Ovi Store approval process took around two weeks, though it is finally through and available for download right from the Ovi Store.
The Ovi Store also features the closest competitor of Firefox for mobile, the Opera Mini browser. The Store introduced Firefox with the lines,
The world’s best Web browser has gone mobile. Get it now on your Nokia N900.
This approval allows uses to direct their web-browsers to the store and download the application for their N900. The addition is a remarkable milestone in the development and growth of Firefox for mobile which had created a huge buzz and has lived up to it as well. You can see the Ovi Store page featuring Firefox for mobile at this link.
Mozilla has started taking Firefox for mobile seriously and wants to server the fastest growing and the most potential platforms first. It started with Maemo and now it is Android.
Firefox for Maemo saw its final version 1.0 release a few days back and now, Firefox for Android pre-alpha screenshots have been released to prove that work is in fast progress for the Android platform. We have already covered the news of the possible release and the ongoing development. Firefox for Mobile is currently available for Nokia 900 and other Maemo powered devices. It is also available for Windows Mobile. But, the plan of including it in Android will offer a powerful and feature rich browser to the vast and tech-savvy Android users base.
Firefox for mobile sports add-ons – the power of Firefox, a touch interface, tabbed browsing, security and an enhanced overall performance. This makes it a browser of choice for many platforms. The presence of add-ons brings the best features form the desktop version to this mobile version as well.
A Mozilla developer Vladimir VukiÄ‡eviÄ‡ has reported on his blog, saying,
mouse events sort of work, toplevel windows sort of work, keyboard doesn’t work yet but shouldn’t be hard to hook up. This is running in an emulator at the moment for ease of debugging, but it’s working just fine on physical hardware as well.
Guessing from the development speed, we can safely expect Fennec to come on Android by the end of this year.
[ Via: Androidcentral ]
Mozilla is proud to announce Firefox for N900 final release and says at it official website,
The world’s best Web browser has gone mobile.
Nokia N900 has seen a series of beta and RC release and this final release from Mozilla is remarkable. With this, officially, Mozilla is one of the big players in the mobile browser market.
Firefox for mobile sports the same engine which forms the base of Firefox 3.6 on the desktop. Over at the Mozilla blog, Erica Jostedt writes,
Bringing Firefox to mobile devices is the next step toward fulfilling Mozilla’s mission of providing one Web that everyone can access, regardless of device or location. Secure, powerful, and customizable, Firefox is the most modern mobile Web browser available and is optimized for a mobile experience.
Some of the best features of Firefox for mobile are,
- The awesome bar providing an intelligent and personalized navigation experience to websites.
- The Weave Sync which lets you carry your browser settings and UI elements wherever you go. This will also upgrade to a syncing of add-ons in the next release of Weave Sync.
- Did I mention add-ons? Yes, Firefox for mobile has add-ons too. So, your browsing experience is enhanced ten-folds with the power of add-ons. Currently there are around 50 add-ons and more are adding up each day.
- Tabbed browsing is an obvious feature expected to be present in Firefox for mobile.
- Safe browsing is something we all should pay attention to after the recent hack attacks at Twitter, Google and many other top-notch websites and companies.
Firefox for mobile is totally free and you can get it directly on your Nokia N900 from this download page
It is officially confirmed. Firefox for Android is under development and is soon to arrive. The browser will run its first test on the Android platform sometime in February with the first alpha release coming some months later.
Fennec is the mobile version of Firefox based on the same engine powering the desktop browser with all the features present in the desktop version. One important feature in the mobile version is the presence on add-ons.
This news from the German Firefox community comes as a confirmation for news of Firefox release for Android platform which came out in 2009. The development news on this Firefox for Android can be found at this German Firefox forum. But this news was interpreted as a Firefox alpha release for Android, responding to which the Android team said,
Android is on our mobile road map, but the German reports were a bit exaggerated. The Android version of Fennec is not yet in alpha so on the wayis premature.
But one thing is clear. Firefox for Android will probably be tested first sometime in February but an alpha release will surely come later this year.
With the release of Weave Sync version 1.0, syncing data between the mobile version and the desktop version just got easier. This promises an equally good browsing experience on the desktop as well as on mobile. The only question is, when is Firefox for Android actually coming out?
Mozilla is looking to take the mobile world with storm with the release of Firefox Mobile "Fennec" for Maemo. However, another interesting news from Phandroid confirms that a Firefox Mobile version for Android is under works and will be made available for downloads soon.
This news comes shortly after the release of Firefox Mobile "Fennec" RC3 for Maemo, which suggests that a final release of the Maemo version is just around the corner. Firefox Mobile for Android will be made available as a beta release somewhere in February 2010. Unlike other browsers, Firefox Mobile has support for extensions. However, it still has to challenge the mighty Opera Mini and the impressive Skyfire before it goes on to become one of the best browsers for smartphones.
Are you looking forward to using Firefox Mobile on your Android device?
Image courtesy: Phandroid