Web development

Mobile FireFox (codename: Fennec) goes beta

Mozilla Fennec has reached beta 1 - Whatwasithinking.co.ukFennec, the mobile version of Firefox has reached beta. Mozilla’s answer to the browser wars on mobile devices is here to provide its standards-based open-source browser engine, optimized for mobile, that can be embedded by device manufacturers and others, and is going to be a full-featured mobile browser including support for XUL-based add-ons, delivering on Firefox’s key principles of ease-of-use, security and accessibility, and help developers debug and deploy web applications for the mobile market.

Read on after the break what has changed in beta 1, screenshots and how you can get hold of it…

Most notable changes in beta 1 (version 1.0b1)

  • Implementation of Mozilla’s Tracemonkey Javascript engine – this should boost the speed of both the browser chrome and web content massively for mobile devices!
  • Faster application start-up time
  • Faster panning
  • Faster zooming
  • Initial implementation of bookmark folders and bookmark editing
  • Support for plug-ins

The feature list builds on the existing alpha features, such as the Smart URL bar (“awesome bar”), tabbed browsing, access to multiple search engines, password manager, popup blocker or the Javascript API to get the devices location.

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Screenshots

Here are some screenshots from the alpha2 release (beta1 kept crashing on me):

Main screen
Main screen
Easy to use tabs screen
Easy to use tabs screen
Plugins screen
Plugins screen
Preferences screen
Preferences screen

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Installing Fennec

Fennec is currently only available for Windows Mobile devices (since alpha 1.0a1) and Nokia N810 Internet Tablet tablet devices running OS2008 (“chinook” or “diablo”). The browser is also available as a standalone pack for Win32, Mac OSX and Linux.

All releases can be downloaded here, and a step-by-step installation guide for WinMo and N810 can be found here.

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Hunting for bugs

Mozilla is hoping to get feeback from developers and encourage add-on developers to port existing add-ons across. If you are interested in helping out or testing this or the next betas as well as add-ons, why not jump over to Mozilla’s newsgroup and provide feedback?

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