Home Mozilla Fennec: First Browser for Android with Support for Add-Ons

Mozilla Fennec: First Browser for Android with Support for Add-Ons

Even though mobile devices are getting increasingly powerful, most mobile browsers are still limited versions of their more fully featured desktop counterparts. With today’s release of the latest alpha version of Fennec for Android (2.0 or higher) and Nokia N900, Mozilla is aiming to change this. Specifically, Mozilla hails Fennec as the “world’s first mobile Web browser to support add-ons.”

In addition, Fennec supports Firefox Sync, which allows users to synchronize their bookmarks, open tabs, passwords and form data between different machines. Fennec also offers pinch-to-zoom support, a personalized start page and context menus. The amount of mobile extensions for Fennec is currently still limited. Mozilla’s add-on gallery currently features about 120 addons.

Update: As one of our commenters pointed out, Dolphin Browser HD for Android also supports add-ons.

Focus on Speed

Besides these new and improved features, the Mozilla team notes that the main focus of this release is increased performance and responsiveness. The Fennec team managed to achieve this by splitting up the processes that render the browser interface and the Web content. Thanks to this, the browser interface will remain responsive, even while it is rendering a complex page or running CPU intensive JavaScript.

A Long and Rocky Road

The earliest preview versions of Fennec for Android appeared earlier this year, but back then, Mozilla’s Vladimir Vuki?evi? noted that the Android version of the app was still “pre-alpha” and was not ready for public consumption. Now, Mozilla seems to be far more confident about the state of Fennec on Android, though Mozilla notes that it has been optimized for the Nexus One and your experience on other devices may differ.

Mobile remains one of Mozilla’s weakest areas. With the recent release of Firefox Home for the iPhone  and today’s alpha release of Fennec, however, it looks like Mozilla is slowly getting back on track.

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