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New Firefox For Android Beta Released

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the foxy-android dept.

Firefox 107

Mozilla has announced the availability of a new beta version of Firefox for Android. The release notes list many of the new features and fixes, which include Flash support, improvements to panning and zooming, plugins loading only on touch, and a new "Awesome Screen." They point out that many Android phones are supported, and that a beta version for tablets will be coming soon. Mozilla is asking for help "testing everything from the faster startup and response times to compatibility for specific websites and graphics performance." Here's the download page.

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Would have been nice to not drop Maemo. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010841)

With all that was held back when the N900 still was supported, it's a shame that it's left out of the fixes.

Re:Would have been nice to not drop Maemo. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010951)

Dude, Maemo was a piece of shit and it couldn't have been dropped fast enough.

The rest of us are moving on. You can be left behind if you want to, reminescing about your beloved Maemo.

Didn't you get the memo? Maemo is dead. (3, Insightful)

OliWarner (1529079) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010965)

As much as I hate to say it (as a N900 pre-orderer), the N900 is dead. The community is split between fourteen different forks and forks of forks and most of its users seem to have moved on to more popular devices (Android and iOS - I doubt too many bought another Nokia/WP7 after what Nokia did with the N900).

Anyway all these together make for a rather unwelcoming development platform. You can't blame people for dropping it.

Let me know when Android devices equal the N900. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011141)

I've bought mine twice over since there isn't a good enough replacement (the N950 came close aside from not being retail available).

Let me know when an Android-based phone has:

* Root-out of the box
* Hardware QWERTY
* Removable SD storage
* Large internal storage
* Works with T-Mobile 3G/4G bands (if not just the latter)
* FM+RDS Transmitter
* USB Host
* Onboard Wifi that can be repurposed for carrier-hostile tether
* Debian-based userland
* Relatively curve-free body (unlike most everything HTC).

In short, a phone platform that's a multitool in its own right and isnt beholden to a carrier.

I'm not sure about all those forks you're talking about, but there aren't more than three major ones. That should be easy enough to not have Firefox be de-supported.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (1)

Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011247)

I'm typing this on a Droid 3 and it meets many of those requirements. It is most notably lacking out-of-the-box root, but I fixed that soon after getting the phone. I am still rather pissed that the bootloader is locked, so even when I change the ROM I can't change the kernel. And, with it rooted, wifi tethering is open to me if I wish. The body is also fairly rectangular. Except for the rounded corners, it's quite straight.

It would be nice to have Debian beneath Android, though.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011281)

Except for the rounded corners, it's quite straight.

It'll be perfect 45.00000 degree angles all around once Apple gets wind of this!

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011503)

* Root-out of the box
* Hardware QWERTY
* Removable SD storage
* Large internal storage
* Works with T-Mobile 3G/4G bands (if not just the latter)
* FM+RDS Transmitter
* USB Host
* Onboard Wifi that can be repurposed for carrier-hostile tether
* Debian-based userland
* Relatively curve-free body (unlike most everything HTC).

Devices aren't rooted out-of-the-box, but it's trivial to root any Android device. USB cable to the PC (Linux/Windows/Mac) and run a shell script to invoke ADB and transfer the SU APK. Really, really simple.

Hardware QWERTY is very easy to come by with Android.

Just about all new Android phones have removable microSD.

Size of internal storage varies from phone to phone. If you're willing to spend good money, you can get at least 64GB. Personally, I'm perfectly happy with very limited internal storage, and relying on said swappable microSD cards.

I'm sure you can find plenty that'll work on T-Mobile's network. Personally I'd strongly recomend looking at Sprint first, though...

FM Transmitter seems like a ridiculously silly requirement to me, (long-live bluetooth) but I imagine you can find an Android phone that has it.

Any high-end Android phone will support acting as a USB Host... And if it doesn't, you just need to root it and install the appropriate app.

Once you've rooted the phone, you can install a plethora of Wifi Tethering apps. There's at least one that claims to work without root, but I can't vouch for it... YMMV.

Lots of people install a Debian userland on their Androids... It only gets ugly if you want to run X11 apps (NX Client, for me), and I'm hopeful that the new X server will get up to snuff soon.
 

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012437)

I actually thought tethering was built in on all Android phones. I have an LG Optimus G2x that I upgraded to the TMobile firmware, because they never released a 2.3 upgrade for my carrier (Wind Mobile), and both the original firmware and the T-Mobile gingerbread firmware supported tethering without any fuss.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012475)

Up to the carrier. Some disable or hide the feature.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40017439)

I actually thought tethering was built in on all Android phones.

I don't know how this works for USians, but if you're a Telstra customer, your telco specifically states in their TOS that they have no problem with tethering.

However, my last Android phone (Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro) was a POS with locked-down firmware that neither the manufacturer nor telco had any intention of upgrading, so I was stuck with no tethering for a while. But, my new Samsung Galaxy Nexus (Android version 4.x) has native tethering that works well, and (Yippee!!) Telstra hasn't felt the need to fill the machine up with crapware that I need to root the device to get rid of. Wonders never cease...

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012495)

It's only trivial to root if the manufacturer makes it easy to unlock or an exploit is found.

Fortunately, the winds are swaying towards manufacturer support. HTC makes it easy now. I think most Samsung devices are fairly straightforward. Last I saw, Motorola made it a PITA (should change once Google takes over). Even still, it takes more work for these devices. HTC for example, you need to make an account on their developer page, get some info off of your device and submit it, get a key from them, take the appropriate steps to unlock, then start rooting.

The Nexus devices it is as easy as you say, however.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40012805)

This, plus "USB Host" is NOT a software fix. Either the chipset can handle it or it can't. I do believe though, that Ice Cream Sandwich lists USB Host as a minimum requirement, and USB Host support is not uncommon. I'd venture to say that any phone you bought that meets your other requirements (sans factory root) will have USB Host.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011851)

A-freaking-men to this. I'll add:
* IM & SMS integrated the same coherent messaging framework (so the same interface controls all messaging, regardless of protocol, though you do pick which protocol)
* Skype, Google Video and other video chat integrating to the dialer and contacts list (so one interface for all).
* Extensible media framework [gstreamer & tracker] (the default framework can be easily extended to support new filetypes)

I'm shocked and appalled that Android (apparently even in ICS) is missing the above features, I simply assumed that they would have this. Anyone know if this is because there's no framework included, or if apps just don't take advantage of it?

I think the n900's hardware sucked big-time (Maemo was sluggish on my n900 from day 1 with a factory load and I was constantly out of memory after running a single browser, though that might just be a problem with my phone or some background / desktop apps I installed). But Maemo itself is vastly superior to Android. If only there was a way to run Maemo on my Galaxy S2... I'd take advantage in a heartbeat...

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40012817)

IM/SMS integration and VOIP/Non-VOIP Phone integration as a stock feature is not going to happen. No vendor is going to obfuscate whether or not you are consuming a free or paid service, nor will the shift to all "free" (i.e. no marginal cost) services.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40012169)

I've bought mine twice over since there isn't a good enough replacement (the N950 came close aside from not being retail available).

Let me know when an Android-based phone has:

* Root-out of the box
pick most newer Android phones
* Hardware QWERTY
You're doing it wrong seriously soft keboard with predictive type or keyboards like swype destroy a physical keyboard
* Removable SD storage
completely unnecessary, but available on many Androids
* Large internal storage
pick any new phone
* Works with T-Mobile 3G/4G bands (if not just the latter)
pick any newer phone
* FM+RDS Transmitter
You're doing it wrong seriously- 1980's want their tech back.
* USB Host
pick most newer Android phones
* Onboard Wifi that can be repurposed for carrier-hostile tether
pick any newer Android phone
* Debian-based userland
LOL seriously? your just making shit up now
* Relatively curve-free body (unlike most everything HTC).

In short, a phone platform that's a multitool in its own right and isnt beholden to a carrier.

I'm not sure about all those forks you're talking about, but there aren't more than three major ones. That should be easy enough to not have Firefox be de-supported.

People can come up with weird excuses to believe "dumb" phones are still the "best" option also but that doesn't make it true. I know change is tough, but the other side really is much better...

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40018407)

You drive a Chevy. I drive a Ford. You suck.

Is that how it works?

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40012283)

Hardware qwerty is a flaw now a days.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 2 years ago | (#40017553)

Hardware qwerty is a flaw now a days.

You may be right. Until quite recently, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a Sony/Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro where I had anticipated that the hardware keyboard would be a plus, but I was pathetically grateful when the machine died and I was able to replace it with a (Samsung) device where I could actually see the keypad.

Oh, and yes, I am nearly 50, so eyesight is an issue. But FWIW, the Galaxy Nexus is an awesome phone, and I'm really happy with it.

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013825)

I have a Samsung SGSII, coming straight from Nokia N900 and N950 (yes, one of those _great_ developer devices which i love, but it's dead on arrival):

* Root out of the box: almost,it's a matter of less than ten minutes, including download. Samsung does not lock its devices, so no risks no strange procedures. Just fire up the tool, download the rooted kernel, upload, reboot. CHECK

* HArdware QWERTY: not the SGSII, but my bluetooth keyboard works out of the box (derived from a PS2 kb, it's small and handy). NOT check

* SD: yes! My 32GB uSD works like a charm CHECK

* Yes! 16 internal GB + 4GB (system partition) . CHECK

* WiFi thethering works out-of-the-box with all Android versions, it's reliable, supports WPA2 and all the whistles. CHECK

* FM-RDS: Yes, CHECK

* USB host: Yes CHECK

* T-Mobile 3g/4g. Don't know about 4g (no 4g in Italy...) but 3G works like a charm. CHECK

* Debian based: No, but you can always install debian if you like... CHECK

* Curve free body: CHECK

So what? Yes, i moved from N900 to Android i found out why NOKIA lost and it's going to die.

Sorry.

(in my apps i still support N900 tough)

Re:Let me know when Android devices equal the N900 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40014181)

> Android-based
> * Debian-based userland

So you don't want an Android based device.

Re:Would have been nice to not drop Maemo. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011061)

That's because Maemo was niche even among niche mobile OSes. It was also a distro filled with faggots as the developers.

Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40010893)

Best. Feature. Ever.

Re:Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (4, Informative)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011143)

If your Android is rooted, try AdFree. It's a blacklist for your hosts file to block ad servers from almost any app, not just the browser.

Re:Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (2)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012379)

Better yet, some work is going on for an Android port of Privoxy. Much better control and more robust than IP-based blocking.

Re:Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013085)

Better yet, just pay $2.99 for the paid version of the app and the ads will disappear, tightwad.

Re:Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40017707)

Better yet, realize there wouldn't be nearly as many free apps if everyone blocked ads.

Re:Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40018551)

Or quality TV if everyone went to the kitchen when the ads came on. I see how that works now.

I block ads. As many ads as I can on all devices that I have. When I surf the web on my friends PC, it is like watching network TV. It is noisy, distracting, and annoying. When I browse on my own PC the web seems like a bit nicer place.

You will never convince me that watching or listening to ads is for my benefit. If free apps go away, so be it.

Re:Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011205)

Yes it is the best feature ever. And the ONLY browser that supports it is Android Firefox. No surprise that there is no support for it in the stock browser. But mysteriously- no support in Dolphin, Chrome, or Opera Android browsers.

Unfortunately, it appears there is no listed AdBlock Plus addon for this new Firefox beta (yet). It could be that it just hasn't passed compatibility yet.

Re:Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40012945)

And the ONLY browser that supports it is Android Firefox

No it isn't. [slashdot.org]

Re:Don't forget about mobile AdBlock Plus (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013063)

404 File Not Found
The requested URL (articles/view/extensions-opera-mobile-labs/) was not found.

Still, this is interesting if Opera has such an addon. I specifically looked for one last year and found nothing. Meanwhile (April 2012):

http://my.opera.com/community/forums/topic.dml?id=1372622 [opera.com]

"Are you trying to install an extension? These are currently not supported by Opera Mobile."

"Opera Mobile's URL Filter file doesn't support ad blocking."

Why? (1, Troll)

Threni (635302) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010919)

They've come to the party extremely late, with a slow bloated competitor for the pretty good stock browser and the excellent Dolphin HD. It would be nice if Firefox for Android supported all the desktop add-ons but no. So..why would I install it over Dolphin?

Re:Why? (2)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011163)

It would be nice if Firefox for Android supported all the desktop add-ons

That would heavily depend on the addons being architecture independent.

Re:Why? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011265)

Mobile Firefox DOES support most of the desktop add-ons. Apparently not in the beta version yet. I think it just is too new for many to have been tested against it yet, and it might also be because this beta doesn't use the standard Firefox UI... just not sure.

If it doesn't support AdBlock, then you are right, there is not much reason to use it over something like Dophin, which apparently will never have such support.

Re:Why? (1)

kbrosnan (880121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011791)

No it does not. Addons need to be re-written for mobile. Jetpack/Addon SDK make this process simpler but it still takes some work.

Re:Why? (1)

Dynamoo (527749) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014283)

I'm not even going to bother looking at this new version, every time I've tried FF on Android before it has been so slow and unreliable as to be unusable. I really can't see how it is salvageable. If you want something better than the stock browser, the Opera is pretty nice.

What's special about this version? (3, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40010993)

They release new Android betas pretty often - there have been half a dozen last year [mozilla.org] , for example. What makes this version so special that it warrants a /. front page story?

Re:What's special about this version? (3, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011047)

>"What makes this version so special that it warrants a /. front page story?"

Because it is the first Firefox for Android that uses the Android user interface, instead of a totally foreign one. It is a pretty big milestone.

If they can improve the speed to match (or at least approach) the native Android browser AND support Adblock, I will absolutely use it for 100% of my mobile phone and tablet browsing, like I already do for all my desktops.

Re:What's special about this version? (-1, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011081)

The native Android browser is slow and crashy so if they haven't even hit that milestone they''re pretty incompetent.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011179)

>"The native Android browser is slow and crashy so if they haven't even hit that milestone they''re pretty incompetent."

Not sure what devices you are using, but on my HTC phones and my Xoom tablet, the native Android browser is fast and has never crashed.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012395)

I seem to remember that not all features are being backported, e.g., the ICS version of the browser contains updates and upgrades that older releases will not get.

But the stock browser is only part of the story (not that I've ever had any real trouble with it), the goalposts moved significantly with Chrome for Android, and others like Dolphin are very good too.

Re:What's special about this version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40012445)

The stock browser on my ASUS transformer is slow. It's a tossup between chrome & firefox. I won't mind if the the newer firefox is faster.

Re:What's special about this version? (0)

Debian Cabbit (412271) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013197)

Have you tried updating to Android 4.0/Ice Cream Sandwich? the ICS Browser has many enhancements that seems to have been taken from the Android version of Chrome, like tabs. Its been fast and stable for me. If there isn't an OTA update for your tablet, there should be a good rom to use on xda-developers.

I use ICS Browser+ [google.com] a browser built on the stock ICS Browser, with added functionality, like the ability to remove the normal menu and use a semi-circular "quick-controls" menu that pops up when you slide your finger in from the left or right side of the screen.

Re:What's special about this version? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40012129)

Oh look, that idiot troll Lunix Nutcase. Fuck off stupid ass.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011521)

I benchmarked Firefox versus the stock browser on my Android 2.2 phone about six months ago and Firefox's JavaScript performance was already faster, in addition to doing much better on HTML5/CSS compatibility tests. The stock browser on an Android 3.1 tablet was faster than the same version of Firefox on the same hardware, though. Clearly Google has been steadily improving the Android browser; unfortunately, you have to upgrade the entire OS to get the new browser code, so owners of older handsets are stuck with what they've got.

Re:What's special about this version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011671)

Matching the performance of the stock browser isn't saying much.

If they can match the performance of Opera Mobile then they might have something. Opera is the first thing I install on any mobile device (I hate Opera for the desktop though; or as I call it "Opera: Crashy Version").

Re:What's special about this version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011709)

I've been using it on a kindle and galaxy, and the bit I was attracted to was the bookmark and open tabs sync. Unfortunately it never seems to work.

That and you can't post on Slashdot with it, though I'd wager that's just the shittiness of slashcode.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

kwalker (1383) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011295)

This one's available in the Market (Screw you "Play Store"). It means it's an actual Beta, no side-loading required.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.firefox [google.com]

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011415)

Previous betas have been available in the Market, too. I've had mine for several months, and kept seeing regular update prompts (and installing those updates), hence why I was wondering what's so special about it this time.

Other posters have clarified that - new UI and Flash support are notable enough, I guess.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

kbrosnan (880121) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011797)

For phone users there is a completely rewritten Java based UI. This results in a much faster startup time and we have Flash support. Two of the largest complaints in the market feedback.

Re:What's special about this version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013019)

Yes, I finally deleted Firefox Beta in anger, sick of the UI and no flash. I installed the nightly and Aurora instead (They have had these features for a while). I guess I should have just waited a day.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011429)

I think you meant this one. [google.com]

Re:What's special about this version? (3, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011331)

Firefox on android has always been a dog slow, steaming pile of crap. I just downloaded the Beta, and it seems this new version FINALLY isn't... It starts up pretty quick (the old one takes forever) have gotten rid of the nightmare UI elements like scrolling off the left & right sides of the web page to see controls and tabs.

Plus, Flash support is a big deal, that it should have had from the start.

I've kept Firefox around as a last resort, because web pages that won't work on any other Android browser, even with the user agent switched to desktop, usually DO work with Firefox, but otherwise, refuse to use it. The latest beta sure cranks down the pain level by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, almost no ad-ons work for it right now, so I can't test much, and it looks like It's still a long way from something I'd use as my primary mobile browser, but it seems to be a hell of an improvement.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

CFD339 (795926) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011385)

Agree completely. I've installed it and found it unworkable.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012425)

I have a Telstra T Tab tablet and I upgraded it to Android 2.2.2 and installed the flash plugin that was available and it works perfectly with the Dolphin HD browser. I am not sure if other Android devices have this available, but the Telstra tablet has flash support. If only I could get a keyboard to attach to it, then it could be a little laptop.

Re:What's special about this version? (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013769)

On my older 2.2-based phone, Firefox was completely unuseable. Really - clicking something would take more than a second to respond in some cases.

Same version of the browser on my new Android 4-based phone and it's a joy. It flies. Lately I've used the Aurora nightlies as my default browser for some time to try the new interface and it's really, really good. I abandoned Dolphin completely for Firefox once the new UI appeared. I basically only miss text reflow when zooming; other than that it is already everything I want.

So takeaway message: it really, really depens on your phone whether your experience will be good or not.

Re:What's special about this version? (2)

kangsterizer (1698322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013733)

This is the Android native version. The old beta was the XUL version.
It is very different from the last beta in almost all regards.

XUL:

- XUL UI
- Electrolysis (one process per tab and uses a lot of memory)
- Supports all XUL addons
- No flash
- Native as in NDK

Android Native:

- Android UI
- Asynchronous UI and renderer (gecko), much reduced memory footprint with many tabs
- Flash
- Native as in Android UI native, Gecko is still using the NDK.
- Needs specific addons.

No Adblock :( (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011035)

Ug- unlike the non-beta, this one has no Adblock Plus support (yet). That is the major reason for Android Firefoxt (well, that, and no Google-overlord spying as with the stock and Chrome Android browsers). Hopefully this will come soon.

Also looks like no tablet support for it yet.

Also still looks like you have to install an Addon to get it to switch to non-mobile presentation mode. That is annoying and should be built-in.

Re:No Adblock :( (3, Informative)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012429)

(well, that, and no Google-overlord spying as with the stock and Chrome Android browsers)

Out of curiosity, has anyone seen any evidence to back this up, or is it just speculation?

Not saying I don't understand the cause for concern, but, given the number of people suspicious of anything Google, you'd think someone would have some evidence were it a problem.

Re:No Adblock :( (0)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013051)

I have seen several reports about tracking with Google browser. And it has face validity (that is how Google does it's thing- for good or bad). Unfortunately, I don't have any such links nor remember any specifics; a result of constant information overload. Hopefully someone else has the info they can share.

Re:No Adblock :( (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013789)

Well... I try to keep fairly abreast of such things, and have seen nothing about it, save for some initial concerns about Chrome on the desktop. Google pretty quickly addressed those.

I've seen nothing suspicious show up in my Privoxy logs (when on my WiFi, my phone proxies through my main rig - Privoxy in the market isn't very robust yet). I've run an occasional packet sniffer to find ad hosts for hosts-based blocking on my phone and have seen nothing suspicious.

Google analytics is baked into SO many websites, and Google has the majority of searches, and if you're using an Android you probably have Google mail anyway. What does Google gain by baking it into the browser as well? Is that marginal benefit greater than the marginal cost?

I think the answer s "no."

Re:No Adblock :( (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#40014997)

If you are using the Android browser on a Google Experience device, you are signed into your "account", whether you want to or not. This means that Google knows who you are and that improves their tracking through Adsense. Then combine that with any Gmail use, for which they have 100% control and access, and your contacts that are linked to that account, etc...

Re:No Adblock :( (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#40015033)

The Android browser doesn't send all your private data to Google, but if you use Google services with it then there will be some information leaked. For example if you search via the URL bar then what you type in is sent in realtime to Google so they can provide suggestions. You can turn that off.

In actual fact the Android browser has less of this than desktop Chrome does because it doesn't use phishing and malware protection feedback or integrate so tightly with Google services.

Re:No Adblock :( (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 2 years ago | (#40017609)

Other than Larry Page constantly sending me emails consisting of a screen shot of whatever porn site I just browsed, and "LOL!" written below, no evidence whatsoever.

And before you go "Well, that settles it!", Firefox is my primary porn browser.

A new FF story every day (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011043)

With the rapid release schedule a story for every FF release would already be more than enough, but now we are getting a new story for a BETA for every platform?

Re:A new FF story every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011883)

This is essentially a large-rewrite of the android firefox completely.

Re:A new FF story every day (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012041)

You read my mind. Firefox coverage here is ridiculous and overdone. Meanwhile other browsers like Opera and seaMonkey are basically ignored when they have new releases.

Re:A new FF story every day (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012641)

Seamonkey is just what you get when a firefox and a thunderbird get freaky on a friday night...

Big deal about FF for me is that working in education, most learning management systems have historically supported IE and FF ... just recently Angel started supporting Chrome and Safari (but only on desktops) ... so FF availability for non-Windows platforms is pretty big in my book...

Re:A new FF story every day (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40017019)

>>>Seamonkey is just what you get when a firefox and a thunderbird get freaky on a friday night...

You have it backwards.
Seamonkey existed first (originally called Mozilla/Netscape Communicator).
Firefox, Thunderbird were split off from it.

alas (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011101)

My little cheapo LG LS670(posting from it now) won't run it or chrome. But.. I can surf, mail, youtube, IM, track my runs, track hours, run squareup, bank, and more. WTF do I need FF for?

Re:alas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011235)

Good question. I installed FF for Android awhile back on my phone... to be honest, it offered nothing more than the default browser did. As a matter of fact, it seemed to run slower (but that might just be me). So I got rid of it and went back to the stock browser.

FINALLY, Flash support. (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011133)

Testing now. If it syncs with my computers, I may be switching from Dolphin.

Re:FINALLY, Flash support. (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011571)

How much Flash do you use on your phone? To me, not being forced to download Flash ads is a blessing. Also, last time I tried the Flash Plugin, games and other, more sophisticated Flash UIs were quirky or broken. That might be the app designers' fault -- they weren't thinking of mobile phone touchscreens when they built them. But the point is, I found in-browser Flash to be pretty much useless on Android.

Re:FINALLY, Flash support. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011825)

Sssshh, don't let them find out. Next you know they'll be pushing HTML5+canvas+video+audio+JS ads you won't be able to block effectively on most mobile browsers due to lack of full fledged NoScript. By that time you'll be remembering good old Flash ads days with kindness, like those GIFs after the advent of shitty Flash banners.

Re:FINALLY, Flash support. (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013307)

Some websites almost require flash support. Big, popular sites? No, but ones I may be interested in nonetheless. Actually, some small businesses that outsourced their website design may be the worst offenders, but I'm still interested in the business. It's also useful for some things like college hockey scores - I like college hockey, and until recently, many live stats pages did not have a non-flash counterpart.

In essence: the need for flash is diminishing but not yet gone. I'm happy to be able to use it in this period of transition.

Am I the only one? (1)

yosifkit (2488062) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011275)

I cannot be the only one who read the title as "New Firefox" for "Android Beta." Language can be so ambiguous at times.

Too slow (2)

Turmoyl (958221) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011559)

Just like its predecessor, this beta loads content too slowly to be usable as a daily driver. In high contrast there's the Opera mobile browser, which is the fastest page renderer I've found on Android yet. I'll also take Opera's "speed dial" feature over Firefox's "loathsome bar" on any given day.

New permissions, no explanation for why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011583)

Sadly this new updates requires two additional rather intrusive permissions with no explanation as to why they are needed. As someone who carefully watches which permissions an app requests, this was very disappointing and until they justify these additional permissions, I won't be updating. It's concerning that there is such a large number of people out there who install Android apps without at least glancing at the permissions they request.

STILL no text reflow on zoom? What the heck? (3, Insightful)

TheEyes (1686556) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011651)

Seriously, the stock browser has been able to reflow text on zoom practically forever; why doesn't Firefox Mobile?

This is the killer feature for me; with my poor vision I always have to zoom in pretty far to see anything on those tiny screens, and being forced to pan left and right to see every line is a huge pain. I like FF for its bookmark/password sync functionality, but when it comes to actually reading anything it's almost easier to copy the bookmark out of Firefox into the stock browser and go from there.

Re:STILL no text reflow on zoom? What the heck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40012089)

Try the Bigger Text add-on, when you double-tab to zoom it will resize the text for you so it is easier to read. There is also a "reformat text on zoom option" which I think I tried before the update and before installing Bigger Text, but I didn't notice it doing anything, but I don't have the option on now anyway.

Re:STILL no text reflow on zoom? What the heck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013129)

Try the Dolphin browser. It has many of the features of Firefox, and it reflows text on zoom well.

Re:STILL no text reflow on zoom? What the heck? (1)

caspy7 (117545) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013203)

There is an addon for this.
They are also working to add this.

Re:STILL no text reflow on zoom? What the heck? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#40017267)

I see that option in the preferences.

That said, this beta is super slow, actually getting a click on a link to register takes 10 tires, and sync setup fails.

So, back to the release version for me.

Does it crash like the full version? (-1, Troll)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011655)

We dropped Mozilla a few years ago after constantly fighting with stability issues on vanilla XP boxes. Did the stability issues follow the project over to the Android platform?

Worthy of note (2)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011693)

This story is worthy of note. As others have mentioned, this is the first beta release to use the Android native UI instead of xul. I can attest it is *dramatically* faster, night and day. The previous xul-based builds were largely unusable, taking 30 seconds just to start, even on my heavily oc'd phone. The new native UI builds run smoothly and fluidly. I've been using the native UI builds since they were first released as nightlies (currently on Firefox 15 nightly), and they're a big step forward.

That being said, these do have some big downsides. The native UI builds dropped support for things like text selection, copy/paste (can't copy what you can't select), and generally feel unpolished. Once all the features from the xul builds are available in the native ui builds, it'll be the best browser around, hands down. Until then, it's a nice tech demo from Mozilla.

no thanks (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40011873)

I wouldn't ever remove the default browser because I'd be afraid of breaking a critical function, and I see no value in having to choose between two browsers when I want to browse on my phone.

Re:no thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40011989)

Hhahahaaaaa.. Nice.
Why are you even using Android then?

The walled garden is over there in Apple's corner.

Re:no thanks (1)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012701)

I wouldn't ever remove the default browser because I'd be afraid of breaking a critical function, and I see no value in having to choose between two browsers when I want to browse on my phone.

You can't remove the default browser (not without root hackery any way). This just gets installed along side it.

Re:no thanks (0)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013249)

Thus my other point. If I'm going to have to have two browsers on my phone, it's not worth the bother.

It's hopefully an improvement (1)

bobjr94 (1120555) | more than 2 years ago | (#40012251)

I really tried to use the FF on my phone, messed with setting, got ad-ons, but it just was bad. Pages would never display the right, things wouldnt work, it was slow, took alot of memory...I switched to dolphin hd a few months ago, everything works, no crashes, very fast to open and load pages and a few more things.

Re:It's hopefully an improvement (1)

SurfsUp (11523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013143)

It's really impressively fast, but it's missing essential functionality. No pinch zoom? Makes maps.google.com a pain. No keyboard shortcuts? Huh?

Impressive work, but not yet usable.

Re:It's hopefully an improvement (1)

SurfsUp (11523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013151)

Oh, not to be so negative, I really like the way it tells me "maps.google.com wants your location (ok/not ok?)"

Re:It's hopefully an improvement (1)

Calos (2281322) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013325)

Same with other browsers, e.g. Chrome. Not sure about the stock browser.

Standard keyboard shortcuts still don't work (1)

SurfsUp (11523) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013133)

Come on guys, some of us have keyboards. How hard can it be to implement Ctrl-t?

stupid slashcode... (2)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013155)

slashdot really NEEDS to fix the experience for mobile browsers... I've just tried the new beta on this site and it's a fscked up experience... just logging in is a real pain as the fancy login window doesn't work well with the onscreen keyboard... and the tabs and links on the pages do not work very well either... touch one and 9 times out of ten, nothing happens... even when zoomed right in on it... the tabs at the bottom of the page don't work either so you're stuck with whatever stories are shown on the front page...

Re:stupid slashcode... (1)

speedingant (1121329) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013371)

Agreed, it's a POS browser on a tablet. It looks tacky, doesn't work well at all. Why change to tabs on the side, but cannot slide to remove and half the time you close the tab window it removes a tab. FFF-FF-UUUU!!!

They removed the best feature (1)

B2382F29 (742174) | more than 2 years ago | (#40013649)

Really, it seems they removed the only killer feature that Firefox had before, the way you could switch tabs.

Before, it was move to the right then select one of the big tabs on the left. Now I have to tap into some small corner to show the tabs? Really? I think I just stay with the built in (ICS/CM9) browser which basically works exactly like that and also hides the navigation bar once the page is loaded

Tablet support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40013921)

They point out that many Android phones are supported, and that a beta version for tablets will be coming soon.

Screw the wiki, there's tablet support on the actual release page... https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/mobile/14.0beta/system-requirements/ [mozilla.org]

And as far as Native UI is concerned... must have been said by someone who never opened the Preferences... about a third of my screen is wasted in a useless whitespace border, and yuck, it looks nothing like the Android UI!

Not on iOS (1)

strikeleader (937501) | more than 2 years ago | (#40020151)

Too bad Apple is allowed to block another browser from being installed. Seeing as everyone is going after Microsoft for not allowing Firefox on 8RT why not do the same for Apple?
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