Mozilla showed off "Fennecomb," the tablet user interface build that blends the open source software maker's Fennec mobile browser build with tools developed for Google's "Honeycomb" platform.
A Mozilla designer offered a sneak preview of the browser
maker's work on building a tablet user interface for the Android 3.0
"Honeycomb" operating system.
"Fennecomb," appropriately describes the UI,
which is a cross between the Fennec mobile browser and Honeycomb, Google's
(NASDAQ:GOOG) tablet-tailored OS.
The current UI, which is subject to change, mirrors
Fennec in some ways, retaining the oversized back button and Awesomebar address
However, Fennecomb also leverages the additional screen
size afford by today's Honeycomb tablets, such as the Motorola (NYSE:MMI) Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab
So while the Awesomebar keeps the same tabbed menu to
allow quick access to bookmarks, history, and synced desktop content, Fennec will note that the tabs have been moved off to the left in Fennecomb
Ian Barlow, Mozilla's mobile device user experience guru,
this makes them easier to reach and increases the number of results that
can be displayed above the keyboard.
Also, while Fennec hides the UI elements such as tabs to
give smartphone users more screen real estate, Mozilla has brought them roaring
back for Fennecomb. In landscape mode, tabs love in a bar on the left. Users
may then switch through tabs with their left thumb, and scroll through Web
content with their right.
The tab bar becomes tucked in a menu item at the top of
the screen when the tablet is in portrait mode. Firefox enjoys millions of
desktop and mobile users, but the company could score big if it nails the user
experience for tablets.
That's assuming, of course, that the UX is good enough
to overcome the bugginess reputation Google's Honeycomb platform build has
suffered since its launch on the Xoom in February.
Google has been polishing this UX, rolling out versions
3.1 and 3.2 already, but it still has a lot of work to do to approach the fluid
UX of Apple's (NASDAW:AAPL) iPad -- if that is even possible.