Mozilla Firefox 4 for Android Sports Speed Boost

Mozilla Firefox 4 is now available for users from the Android Market. The speedy browser syncs data across multiple computing devices and smartphones, and leverages HTML5.

Mozilla March 29 launched Firefox 4 for Android, claiming the mobile browser is up to three times as fast as the stock browser on Android, thanks to enhancements to its JavaScript engine.

Available from Google's Android Market and for Maemo devices, Firefox 4 for Android also includes such efficiencies as tabbed browsing, one-touch bookmarks and browser controls that hide when not in use to help users focus on the Websites at hand.

The save-to-PDF feature lets users capture Web pages from their Android smartphone to view offline later. Users may also now share Websites via email, Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader.

Firefox Sync lets users access browsing history, bookmarks, open tabs, form data and passwords across multiple computers and mobile devices.

Mozilla Firefox 4, reviewed by eWEEK recently, is an important launch for Mozilla. The company's browser, once poised to make a run at Microsoft Internet Explorer, has watched its market share growth halt with the advent of Google's Chrome browser, which is being iterated at a furious pace.

Net Applications data shows that IE currently commands almost 57 percent of the browser market, with Firefox and Chrome following with 22 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

IE 9 is receiving accolades from users, while Mozilla watched its Firefox 4 desktop browser rack up over 7 million downloads within 24 hours of launch.

The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg found the new Firefox to be snappy, noting that it easily handled video-heavy sites and Web applications such as email programs, simple games and productivity sites like Google Docs and the like.

"But, in my comparative speed tests, which involve opening groups of tabs simultaneously, or opening single, popular sites, like Facebook, Firefox was often beaten by Chrome and Safari, and even, in some cases, by the new version 9 of IE, which has ramped up its own speed," Mossberg noted.

Mossberg also proclaimed Firefox Sync functional on Windows PCs and Macs, as well as on Firefox 4 for Android. And why shouldn't it? The whole idea of sync is to port any browser element to any device with a browser.

Moreover, Mozilla has based Firefox 4 for Android on the same technology platform as the desktop version, incorporating HTML5 elements.

HTML5 enables graphically intensive applications without requiring multimedia plug-ins such as Adobe's Flash Player and Microsoft Silverlight.

Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo includes location-aware browsing, device orientation, an accelerometer and desktop notifications.