Home New Firefox for Android Shows the Future of Mobile Browsers

New Firefox for Android Shows the Future of Mobile Browsers

Mozilla has released a new update of its Firefox browser for Android that brings user interface improvements for consumers and new developer tools to create rich mobile Web applications. Google, Apple, Research In Motion and others should take heed of what Mozilla is doing because it is the evolution of the mobile browser and is a signal of what is to come for smartphone consumers and developers.

The new Firefox for Android app is faster and sleeker than its previous version. In a few words, it actually works. That was not always the case with previous Firefox for Android builds that were difficult to navigate. It is designed to look and feel like an Android application and has a new home screen page, buttons and easy to use features like Firefox sync, add-ons, tabbed browsing and bookmarks. In preliminary testing, the app is more responsive, pinches and zooms faster and generally looks cleaner. Outside of optimization, Mozilla is pointing the way that mobile browsers could and should go in the near future.

Mozilla’s plan for the mobile browser can be summed up in the APIs that come with the new Firefox for Android build. The single touch events API can help developers build Web experiences that detect touch actions, like a swipe or a pull to pan around a map or “pull a slingshot to launch an Angry bird,” as Mozilla says. Mozilla says that multi-touch for the browser will be added in future releases of the app.

Mozilla also has the IndexDB API that gives developers local database storage to make Web apps, websites and restart-less add-ons. The API can also help developers make some application functionality available offline and can increase performance and reduce data usage.

The IndexDB API signals a trend in mobile that companies like Mozilla and Amazon are starting to take advantage of – the offline app. Amazon’s new Kindle Cloud Reader, while still a bit buggy, caches the app and its data so it can be used without an Internet connection. This could dynamically change how mobile Web apps are used by developers and consumers and, along with HTML5, is the next evolution of mobile development.

Image: The Firefox Fennec also known as Firefox Mobile

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