Firefox for Android Alpha Released

Mozilla releases the next major version of its Firefox browser for mobile users ?ö?ç?? known as Fennec ?ö?ç?? for Android and the Nokia N900.

Mozilla has announced that the next major version of its Firefox browser for mobile users, known as Fennec, is now available for the Android and Nokia N900 platforms.

Mozilla officials said the Alpha release of Fennec is now available for Android and Nokia N900 users to download and test.

In an Aug. 27 blog post, Stuart Parmenter, director of mobile engineering at Mozilla, said Fennec is the first mobile browser to offer add-ons and is built on the same technology that powers desktop Firefox. The latest version of Fennec builds on the rich set of features from the previous release and makes it easier to bring your Firefox experience with you anywhere, he said.

Lauding the openness of Android, Parmenter said this first Alpha release of Fennec for Android is "an exciting first step in bringing browser choice and customization, along with a seamless Web experience across devices, to a leading open mobile platform. Now, developers have the power to use the latest Web technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript to build fast, powerful and beautiful mobile apps and add-ons that can reach many millions of devices."

And as with the latest update of the Firefox 4 beta for the desktop, "Fennec Alpha now creates one fluid Web experience between desktop and mobile devices by providing Firefox Sync built into the browser, which provides seamless access to Awesome Bar browsing history, bookmarks, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs," Parmenter said.

Describing the key points in this alpha release, Parmenter said:

""The main focus of this release is to increase performance and responsiveness to user actions. This is being implemented using two major technologies, 'Electrolysis' and 'Layers.' This Alpha release includes Electrolysis, which allows the browser interface to run in a separate process from the one rendering Web content. By doing this, Fennec is able to react much faster to user input while pages are loading or CPU intensive JavaScript is running. The upcoming beta release will start taking advantage of Layers to greatly improve performance in graphic intensive actions like scrolling, zooming, animations and video. We're also working to optimize these actions using the hardware-accelerated graphics rendering capabilities showing up in today's mobile devices.""

Meanwhile, on Aug. 24 Mozilla announced the latest update to the Firefox 4 beta, which included Firefox Sync and Panorama, formerly known as Tab Candy. With a single keystroke, Panorama provides an overview of all a user's tabs to easily organize the tabs into groups, name them, prioritize them, and quickly switch between tabs or tab groups, Mozilla said.