Yesterday we released Firefox for mobile on Android. You can download it from the Android Market. Other than being yet another Web browser for Android, here is what Firefox brings extra to the table.
The basics of browsing: an intuitive URL bar, Back and Forward buttons, tabs, bookmarks, cache, cookies, user preferences panel are all there and work just fine. But the rest is what sets Firefox apart from the rest of its competitors on Android.
As a stand-alone browser rather than one built on top of the native one (as most of them on Android are) gives it a set of uniques advantages. From bypassing limitations like number of open tabs available to offering a wide range of modern Web standards support, Firefox brings Gecko’s strong points to the light and shows it is a platform that can perform in mobile environments as well. (Android is not the only OS we support Firefox on, as you can use it on Nokia’s Maemo as well)
While the rendering engine for Firefox is the same between desktop and mobile, this is not true for the interface. A mobile browser needs specific adaptations for smaller screens and touch interaction. From its one-swipe access to the side menus to the Smart Screen with all of your history, bookmarks and open tabs, Firefox takes UI design to a new, deeply mobile-integrated level. Madhava takes a wider look at Firefox’s user interface.
But the UI is only one part of the user experience that sets Firefox apart. In order to bridge the gap between the different form factors, we have integrated into both desktop and mobile versions of the browser a end-to-end encrypted, seamless synchronization feature we call Firefox Sync. It has support for bookmarks, history, open tabs and passwors, thus bringing not just set a set of useful data to the mobile device, but quite a bunch of them. What makes Firefox Sync unique is its end-to-end encryption which makes sure that once the data leaves a user’s computer it cannot be read; en-route or on the syncing server. For even more security, it allows you to use a custom server, which can be run by you or a trusted friend.
In part 2 we will be talking about add-ons, customization and more.