What's new in Firefox 4 Beta 1 for Android and Maemo
Fennec is the codename of Mozilla’s mobile project, however, the official product name is Firefox.
Shipping with many of your favorite Firefox desktop features like Firefox Sync, Add-ons and the Awesome Bar, this beta release brings Firefox to the Android platform, the fastest growing smartphone platform in the world.
The foundation of this release is based on enhanced performance and responsiveness, specifically around a technology called “Layers” that greatly improves performance in graphic intensive actions like scrolling, zooming and animations. Enhanced responsiveness, in conjunction with new and improved features that help customize your Firefox, make this release a user friendly and personalized experience.Get Up and Go
Shipping with the Firefox Sync feature built-in, Firefox 4 beta 1 synchronizes your Firefox history, bookmarks, open tabs, passwords and form data between your desktop and mobile. Just login with your Firefox Sync account info and Firefox gets to know you right away, taking you to your favorite parts of the Web with barely any typing. Don't worry about switching to a new phone, or having to type long URLs or passwords again. You can even leave your desktop in a moment’s notice and pick up right where you left off on your mobile phone.Add-ons
Firefox 4 Beta 1 offers add-ons; pieces of software that let you change or add features, functionality and the look of your Firefox to fit your browsing lifestyle. You can search for and install add-ons directly to your Android phone or Nokia N900 from the Add-ons Manager located in your browser tools. We look forward to offering more add-ons in future releases.Personalized Start Page
Pick up where you left off with your new personalized Start page. Get instant access to your Firefox desktop tabs, the tabs you had open last time you were browsing on your phone, the Awesome Bar, and get suggestions for useful add-ons.Awesome Screen
The Awesome Screen pops up just by tapping on the Awesome Bar (location bar). It gets to know you and instantly brings up a smart list of your favourite history items and bookmarks and lets you easily select a search engine for your desired search. You can also customize your search engine list for maximum efficiency.Touch Friendly UI
Swipe to the left or right of your screen to access your tabs, browser controls and tools, which are stowed out of the way while you browse the Web. Typing on a phone is hard, that's why you can bookmark a site with one tap, view tabs as thumbnails to easily see and open the page you want, and use the Awesome Screen to get to where you want to go in just a few a keystrokes.Responsiveness
More personalized than ever before, Firefox 4 beta 1 is packed with your favorite features and great improvements. Other highlights include:
- Pinch-to-zoom (Android), double-tap, or use the volume rocker (Nokia N900) to zoom in and out
- Tabbed browsing in thumbnail view lets you easily see and open the site you want
- Location-Aware Browsing gives you content and info relevant to your location
- Find in Page in the Site Menu lets you quickly find text on the webpage
- Share Page in the Site Menu lets you send content to email, Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader
- Forget Password in the Site Menu tells a website you no longer trust to forget your private data
- Add Search Engine in the Site Menu lets you quickly add a new search engine to your Awesome Screen
- Context Menu lets you Open in New Tab and Share by long tapping and holding a link
- Smart Tapping lets you tap on links, widgets and other Web content with accuracy
- Password Manager lets you choose to remember site password to avoid typing
Although Firefox for the desktop and mobile are built on the same technology platform, there are differences that will require developers to make changes to their add-ons in order to become compatible with Firefox for Android and the Nokia N900. Visit the Electrolysis and Add-ons wiki page to learn more.What’s under the hood
- The same browser engine as Firefox 4.0 beta for desktop
- Leading Web compatibility
- Engine optimized for ARM processors
- Location-Aware Browsing
- Web workers
- Offline storage
- Firefox 4 beta 1 requires around 40 MB of internal storage. We have plans to reduce this to 20 MB or less. Like all Android NDK apps, Firefox must copy its native libraries out of the APK file before loading them, so they end up installed twice. We have plans to work around this problem and reduce the installation size (bug 588607).
- Major changes to Firefox for mobile have been made which have resulted in multiple add-ons to break. Developers, please see the Electrolysis and Add-ons wiki as a guide to help you make your add-on compatible with Firefox
- Adobe Flash and other plugins are not supported yet. Automatic updates do not work in Android 2.1 or earlier (bug 596662).
- Text does not wrap to fit the screen after zooming in, as it does in the Android browser (bug 578179). The Easy Reading add-on has some proof-of-concept code to do this.
- 575950 - SSL certs are not confirmed for secure webpages
- 590865 - “Share your Location” can hang Fennec
Firefox 4 beta 1 is available for download on the Android platform and on the Nokia N900.
See a full list of supported and unsupported devices by visiting our System Requirements wiki.
Download Firefox 4 beta 1 by visiting Firefox.com/m/beta on your Android phone, or Nokia N900. Visit the Platforms and Device Requirements page to make sure your phone meets the Android system requirements.
Developers: You can download a version of Firefox for mobile to your desktop in order to test, provide feedback, and build add-ons. Desktop builds are for development purposes only and don't have full functionality:
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Firefox 4 beta available for my phone?
- Firefox 4 beta is available for Android (2.0 and above) phones, and for the Nokia N900. See the Android System Requirements to see if Firefox 4 beta is compatible with you Android device. You can download the Firefox 4 beta here or, you can download Firefox 1.1 for the Nokia N900 here. If Firefox for mobile is not available for your device or platform, we're continuing to investigate ways to bring parts of the Firefox experience to you. Learn more about our mobile projects.
- Is it called Fennec or Firefox?
- Fennec is the codename of Mozilla’s mobile project, however, the official product name is Firefox. For pre-beta releases of Firefox, we call it by the project's name, Fennec.
- How will Firefox keep me safe while I browse on my mobile?
- Mozilla’s open source process leverages the experience of thousands of security experts around the globe, and Firefox includes features like instant Web site ID that checks on suspicious sites to ensure they’re what they claim to be. Customizable security settings to manage passwords, cookies, loading images and installing add-ons give you complete control over your browsing experience. Learn more.
- How do I use the Firefox user interface to browse the Web?
- To save space on your phone’s display, Firefox browser controls are stowed away to the sides of the screen. Swipe right to access your tabs on the left side of the screen. Swipe left to view one-touch bookmarking, back and forward, and access your browser tools. To let you see more of the Web site, your browser controls and Awesome Bar get stowed away out of view. when you scroll down a Web page, but they instantly reappear if you pan to either side. Tap on the on Web site ID to the left of the Awesome Bar to open the Site Menu to further manage your relationship with the Web page you are on.
- What is the Awesome Screen?
- The Awesome Screen pops up just by tapping on the location bar. It instantly brings up a smart list of your favourite history items and bookmarks and lets you easily select a search engine for your desired search. You can also customize your search engine list for maximum efficiency.
- How do I zoom in and out?
- For Android phones, pinch-to-zoom in and out or double tap. For the Nokia N900, you can use the volume button on the top of your phone, or double tap the screen with your finger to zoom in and out. Also, on the Nokia N900, Ctrl-up and Ctrl-down arrows will zoom in and out.
- How do I bookmark a Web page?
- Go to the site you wish to bookmark. Touch the bookmark “star” button on the right side of your display.
- How do I open a new tab?
- Touch the new tab "plus" button on the left side of your display screen to open a new tab. Tabs appear as thumbnails so you can easily see which page you’d like to select.
- What are Firefox Add-ons and how can I get them on my mobile device?
- Add-ons are small pieces of software that let you add or change the look or functionality of Firefox. Install add-ons directly to your Firefox by swiping to the left and tapping on the browser tools "gear" button on the bottom right-hand side of your screen, then choosing the add-ons “puzzle piece” button to discover and install the add-ons that are most useful to you.
- How can I share my Firefox bookmarks, history, tabs, and passwords between my desktop and my mobile?
- Firefox Sync is a built-in feature of Firefox 4 beta that lets you synchronize your desktop and mobile data. To use this feature, you must first install the Firefox Sync add-on on your desktop and create a Firefox Sync account. Then go to Firefox on your mobile phone, tap on the browser tools, Add-ons Manager and select Firefox Sync. Tap "Connect," and enter your Firefox Sync login info to begin synchronizing. To learn more about setting up Firefox Sync on your mobile, watch this video.
- Do I need to setup Firefox Sync to use Firefox 4 beta on my phone?
- No. Although we think Firefox Sync is highly useful, it is feature that you can choose to use or not. The Awesome Screen will start to get to know you and take you to your favorite parts of the Web with minimal typing, even without Firefox Sync. If you do wish to start using Firefox Sync on your mobile phone, remember you must first install the Firefox Sync add-on to your desktop and create an account.
- What is Location-Aware Browsing? Is Firefox tracking where I am?
- Location-Aware Browsing saves you time by allowing websites to ask you where you are. If you choose to share your location with a website, it can use that information to find nearby points of interest and return additional, useful data like maps of your area. It’s all optional – Firefox doesn’t share your location without your permission. Learn more about Location-Aware Browsing.
- Will a Firefox add-on I built for the PC work on mobile? If not, do I need to change it?
- Although Firefox for the desktop and mobile are built on the same technology platform, there are differences that will require developers to make changes to their add-ons in order to be compatible with Firefox for mobile. Visit the Mobile Developer Network and Electrolysis and Add-ons wiki to learn more.
- What browser engine does Firefox use?
- How do I develop a Location-Aware website for Firefox?
- Firefox has implemented the first public draft of the Geolocation specification from the W3C. An overview on how to develop Location-Aware websites here.
- Does Firefox on my mobile support HTML 5?
- HTML 5 is the next major revision of HTML. The HTML 5 specification is ongoing, but there are several HTML 5 and related features that will enable Web developers to create more innovative websites and applications. Firefox includes important features like Location-Aware browsing, the <canvas> and <svg> tags, Web workers and offline storage.
- Does Firefox on my phone support plugins?
- There is no plugin support in Firefox 4 beta 1 for Android and Nokia N900. On most Web pages that use the Adobe Flash plugin, the performance of the plugin didn't meet our standards, and the interactivity and performance of the entire Web page was negatively impacted. This was especially felt on pages with multiple instances of the plugin. Advanced users can enable plugins for experimentation and testing purposes only. We are working on ways for the user to have control of which sites to enable plugins for, as some sites, like YouTube, do work quite well.
- How can I get involved?
- Help spread the word, test and improve Firefox 4 beta and Go Mobile. If you’d like to learn more about ways you can get involved in other mobile-related initiatives, check out our Get Involved page. As always, your input is welcome.