The battle of the mobile browsers heated up today with the release of a “pre-alpha” version of Firefox (aka Fennec) for Android 2.0 and above. Details are on Firefox Mobile developer Vladimir Vukićević’s blog. There’s also a Google Group that’s been setup for user feedback. The apk can be downloaded from bit.ly/fennec-android. Mozilla suggests disabling Apps2SD (if you use it) and installing Firefox to device memory.
Based on Vladimir’s post and comments on the Google Group it looks like this release may only work with the Droid and Nexus One. In addition to 2.0 and lots of RAM it appears to require a high resolution screen. Users are reporting failures with rooted Heros and other QVGA devices running 2.1.
Congratulations to the Firefox Mobile team for their accomplishments in porting Fennec to Android. I also really appreciate that they have made this first bleeding edge release available to all Android users. I wish Skyfire would do the same rather than only offering only a closed Android Alpha.
Based on Firefox’s quick ramp up on Maemo,I expect to see more Firefox for Android to progress quickly to support more devices. I’m definitely looking forward to being able to run Firefox mobile on my HTC Magic.
Android is shaping up as the to be The platform for mobile browser innovation. Not only is Google pushing the boundaries of mobile HTML5 with the latest versions of their browser but Opera Mini, Dolphin and now Firefox are on Android too. Skyfire’s Android browser is in closed Beta, Opera Mobile for Android is available to OEMs and UCWEB has released a Chinese language Android Beta with an English version in the works. With all this competition mobile browsing can only get better and better.