×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Firefox Arrives On Android

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the well-good-for-them dept.

Cellphones 164

Barence writes "Mozilla has launched a 'pre-alpha' version of Firefox for Android smartphones. The mobile version of Firefox, codenamed Fennec, has until now been restricted to Maemo Linux handsets. But following a surge in developer effort, Mozilla has unveiled a build for handsets running Android 2.0 or above. Mozilla is making no guarantees about the browser's stability. 'It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot,' writes Mozilla developer Vladimir Vukicevic on his blog. 'Memory usage of this build isn't great — in many ways it's a debug build, and we haven't really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Why then (0, Troll)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012956)

It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot

Why then would I want to replace my webkit browser with this? I understand this is an Alpha and that bug might be fixed, but again, why would I want to use this over my webkit based browser?

Re:Why then (4, Insightful)

gnud (934243) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012982)

Unless you want to help debug and/or develop, I doubt anyone expects or even wants you to.

Re:Why then (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013182)

Why then would I want to replace my webkit browser with this? I understand this is an Alpha and that bug might be fixed, but again, why would I want to use this over my webkit based browser?

Simple. Once FF works on Android, we can use its superior plugins like AdBlock and NoScript. Anyone with a mobile device will see a huge improvement in browsing performance having these two preventing the dozens of extra retrievals from unrelated servers, ad-farms and other shit.

What about resource usage? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013312)

The moment you start installing Firefox extensions, even well-tested ones like AdBlock and NoScript, Firefox's resource usage shoots through the roof.

Its memory usage is by far the worst of any browser these days. I'm currently on a new system I got a couple of days ago. I'm using Firefox 3.6.3, and the only extensions I have installed are AdBlock, NoScript and Firebug. I don't even have Flash installed.

My browser has only been running for about six hours now today, but according to top, its resident memory usage is over 3900 MB! Now, my system only has 4 GB of physical RAM, so it ends up swapping like crazy. I know some fools claim this is an "optimization" where Firefox intentionally uses all available physical memory, but they totally forget that sometimes people run other memory-intensive applications like Eclipse while also running Firefox... Regardless, I'm going to be installing Opera soon.

I just can't see how Firefox with those extensions will run reasonably on a device with very limited resources. Firefox seems to have a hard enough time on a modern system with plenty of RAM.

Re:What about resource usage? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013496)

sad but true, however I think it's the issue of "which resources".

You have a: serious lag on things loading (processor resource) without adblock and noscript. Meanwhile, you have b: serious ram implications over time if you do have them. I actually forsee the addons being a serious problem on android phones since google still doesn't think people need a "quit" button for their apps, even though most phones get starved on memory specifically because google doesn't understand that you need to give people by default a way to force closed a process.

However, the functionality is stuff that nobody else has down pat. I don't' see anyone else with gestures + adblock equivalent + noscript other than chrome. That and firefox runs more sights properly than chrome does. Safari isn't even worth mention, as it's so feature deprived that it simply runs fast but, well, you know, has no features. The adblock they have isn't even the same, a bit less userfriendly. No noscript available. So what alternatives do people have that are fully functional? none.

Re:What about resource usage? (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013610)

even though most phones get starved on memory specifically because google doesn't understand that you need to give people by default a way to force closed a process.

That's simply not true. Yes, the lack of a quit button may be personally annoying to you, but it's not going to cause active applications to run out of memory. The Android system WILL close less recently used apps to free up memory as needed.

Re:What about resource usage? (1)

bodan (619290) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014200)

The Android system WILL close less recently used apps to free up memory as needed.

I’m sure it does, but apparently its “when needed” doesn’t quite agree with what I want.

My G1 consistently falls into prolonged periods of very bad responsiveness after using applications with large footprints. I don’t know what’s going on there, but some things are eating resources much more than a simple “kill it and reclaim resources” should take. It’s obvious that programs I no longer use will often keep using resources to the detriment of those I do use.

There’s a reverse side of that coin, and it’s also annoying: it will also kill things you don’t want it to. For instance, it will almost always kill my music player while using Maps navigation (though it does so inconsistently), simply because it’s in the background and Maps is lagging. But, while I want the nav program in the foreground, I don’t really care about having it responsive _all_ the time.

I’d much rather be able to tell it what to close (and, by omission, tell it not to stop my music playing).

Re:What about resource usage? (2, Informative)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015182)

I have a g1. You really need to use a task manager and uninstall anything that possibly runs at boot/in the background. They are just waaaay too ram limited. Also check out cyanogen mod as well as the 10mb RAM hack and turning on compcache and swap. My phone flies compared to stock android 1.6 and I have stuff on every desktop. Just keep getting rid of stuff till it gets smooth again....

Re:What about resource usage? (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015412)

Also. I can open apps over and over again on my g1 and have the desktop pop up. You really need to do some serious tweaking to optimize it, but I don't think I'd trade it for even a nexus one at this point. My music app never closes in the background and I can run music, go to maps, hit the home screen and pull open a browser without much delay at all. It just sounds like you have too much stuff active. Even the task killers tend to leave services running in the background. You don't want any services running on the g1 other than the stock ones, though I find astrid runs ok.

Re:What about resource usage? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015532)

OMG! That's the nirvana of multitasking that i've been robbed of with my iPhone?

Re:What about resource usage? (1)

BlackCreek (1004083) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015766)

What version of Android you are running? Cyanogen 4.2.14 was pretty problematic. The latest version 4.2.15.1 (and the one before that) did address loads of issues, and (at least) my G1 is working a lot better now.

Re:What about resource usage? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32016536)

Maybe you don't understand. Memory starved phones in the first place, such as a G1, can only handle 2 or 3 apps in the background. With the magic "we'll close it when it hits 6", that doesn't work. Nor is it appropriate for phones that can handle more than 6 or less.

People need to have the option to determine this themselves, and google has not provided it. It could be as simple as "maximum performance/battery" = no more than 3 apps before it stops caching them, and "maximum apps" = maximum of 6 or 8.

How many phones does this apply to? Everything that has hardware less than what the N1/incredible has. Every other phone doesn't have the memory to support it.

Re:What about resource usage? (2, Insightful)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014478)

Good god man, my FF never goes over 100mb, even with lots of tabs open. It averages at 70mb and i'm sure you can configure it to be even more minimal.

It's possible your build is bad. Are you using something stable and tested by your distro?

Re:Why then (1)

DWRECK18 (1796294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013376)

This is true that once FF "WORKS" on Android we can use those things. However, TheKidWho makes a valid point. If this isn't going to work great on the Droid and has bugs that are more than likely going to crash the phone and for reboots, Why would I dl this now and risk that. Also valid is gnud with the fact that unless you want to debug and/or develop for this browser I don't see many people going to FF just yet. I personally thought about it but the comment of high memory utilization means it won't work well on my Droid turned me off to it. Once these bugs are worked out though, I will definately be using FF for my dedicated browser.

Re:Why then (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013490)

It's not really a valid point, you're both criticizing this as if it were a release.. It's alpha for a reason. Like the GP says, they don't expect nor want people with your expectations to try this build.

As far as why you'd want it at all, well, competition is always a good thing..

Re:Why then (3, Insightful)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013708)

so your question is 'why would i download a pre-alpha release and play around with it on my phone' because it MIGHT NOT WORK

...mine is why are you on slashdot if that sounds like something you wouldn't do? i was really excited about the release and installed it immediately for my Moto Droid and then i come into the one place on the web where i thought that others would share my enthusiasm and here you two are pissing all over it for being, you know, an alpha release.

Re:Why then (1)

DWRECK18 (1796294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013804)

Trust me I was enthusiastic about it until I finished reading and got to the point where it said looking at pages with a lot of information will cause issues with low memory devices like the Droid. I was all of 2 seconds away from downloading it until I seen that. I have no problem with bugs and the like but when there are issues with memory utilization on devices specifically my phone then I would prefer to wait until those issues are resolved. I don't mind bugs but slowness due to memory problems I do mind.

Re:Why then (1)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014460)

my point was why are you afraid to test it yourself? as soon as i saw that they said that worst case scenario was rebooting i was ready to try it. shit, i have 'professional' apps that have crashed my phone before (google sky map, i am looking at you). i was willing to put up with a little slowness to test drive a shiny new browser.

Re:Why then (1)

DWRECK18 (1796294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014794)

I see what your saying, however I have very bad luck with phones for some reason. So for me to put something on that is pre-alpha is a little sketchy and thats just my opinion. By all means I appreciate the people that will test it and say whether or not it causes major issues especially if they are running a Droid. I am no programmer, I may be a techie but when it comes to anything with programming not so much. I build, repair, troubleshoot, and use beta's on computers, but phones not so much do to my luck with them. Keep in mind I run 3-4 different OS because I like to differentiate what I use depending on what my purpose to being on the PC at that point is. I have been using Google Chrome is before it was finalized and vista and 7 both since they were in beta, so i have no problem using them. But when I known issue is that it will run slow when loading larger pages (wich i visit quite often on my phone) and it is specifically mentioning my phone, well then I will wait. Again I am not bashing it I simply and giving my opinion and I hope other people can tell me it works better than expected.

Re:Why then (1)

YouWantFriesWithThat (1123591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014920)

fair enough, but for what it's worth it is working fine on my Moto Droid. i am not going to be using it as my primary browser yet, but the UI is pretty slick.

Re:Why then (1)

DWRECK18 (1796294) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015790)

Thanks for the update, I will probably take a look at it then since I also have a MOTO Droid. I will provide feedback as well once I get into using it.

Re:Why then (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014524)

For me, i love to download and test drive open source stuff. I remove 90% of it, but sometimes you run into some really great apps.

Re:Why then (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32016840)

While many people may have an extra PC to try pre-alpha software on, not that many have an extra Android phone in the closet. You don't want your only cell phone to be f***ed up in an emergency because you put FF on it.

Re:Why then (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013830)

Once FF works on Android, we can use its superior plugins like AdBlock and NoScript.

Maybe. If the mobile version supports plugins, and those plugins are in the same format as the desktop ones. There's no guarantee of either, though.

Re:Why then (2, Informative)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014102)

If the mobile version supports plugins, and those plugins are in the same format as the desktop ones. There's no guarantee of either, though.

It does, and they are. There are a few tweaks that add-on authors should make to their add-ons to support the mobile versions (mainly UI-related), but those are trivial for most cases. I say this as someone who has ported more add-ons to Firefox for Mobile than anyone else (as far as I know).

Re:Why then (0)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013888)

Simple. Once FF works on Android, we can use its superior plugins like AdBlock and NoScript.

That's nice, but Google Chrome has NoScript and CookieSafe built in. The Firefox devs refuse to offer that, so Firefox is always going to have a bloat issue compared to Chrome. The same is likely true in the mobile browser space--I imagine Google are planning to keep the Android browser in step with Chrome.

Re:Why then (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015054)

That's nice, but Google Chrome has NoScript and CookieSafe built in. The Firefox devs refuse to offer that, so Firefox is always going to have a bloat issue compared to Chrome.

Did you seriously just claim that less built-in features = more bloat? By that logic emacs is less bloated than nano.

Re:Why then (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32016556)

Did you seriously just claim that less built-in features = more bloat?

It's not always as clear-cut as you imply. Features that are built in typically require fewer resources than ones that are not (this is especially true in FireFox, where most extensions use JavaScript, so have VM overhead on top, while a lot of built in things are statically compiled native code).

If a feature that you use is built in to one product and optional in another, then this often means that the version where it is not built in will use more resources when you are using that feature. In this case, the product with fewer features has more bloat.

Re:Why then (2, Insightful)

kaiser423 (828989) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013364)

Because you might want to help make it better by submitting feedback and tracking bugs as it heads into alpha/beta stage and reporting them?

Because tinkering is cool, and it doesn't replace your webkit browser?

Re:Why then (2, Insightful)

roseblood (631824) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014154)

<i>Why then would I want to replace my webkit browser with this? I understand this is an Alpha and that bug might be fixed, but again, why would I want to use this over my webkit based browser?</i>

Because some of us view OSS as more than just free software. Some of us want to help debug/test it and add to the community. Some are out for more than just a free-ride (although there's nothing wrong with a free-ride when it's offered.)

Free Ride? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32016904)

While it's true that I got my Droid for free, most people didn't. I don't see how not using FF on my phone implies a free ride.

How can it be pre-alpha? (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012964)

How can you have a pre-alpha release? I've always heard Alpha as a "feature preview", where it's not complete and there may be major bugs. Beta was when it was feature complete, but probably contains major bugs. And then Release candidates are for finding major and minor bugs, but should be production ready if none are found... Unless there's another definition I'm not aware of, how can you have pre-alpha code?

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (3, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013018)

If you report bugs on alpha code the developers will thank you. If you report bugs on pre-alpha code, the developers will collectively roll their eyes and suggest that maybe you should wait a month or two before installing another pre-alpha.

Oh wait, firefox, yeah.. I guess it's always pre-alpha ;)

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013194)

47% of us taxpayers don't actually pay any income tax.

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (0, Offtopic)

DJLuc1d (1010987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013348)

I lold, dont even mod as troll, that was funny.

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013636)

The two aren't even slightly mutually exclusive.

You may as well have said " purple"

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32015562)

on average, human beings have one testicle. That's true, but useless since there are two distinct populations, 55% with 0 testicles, 45% with 2 (and a very small fraction with 1 or 3).

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013068)

If you have to ask, it's not for you [penny-arcade.com] .

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013082)

Pre-alpha is where they release it before they have even started writing it.

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (2, Insightful)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013094)

Pre-alpha is just PR talk. Just like how game-developers claim their new screenshots is pre-alpha build. "Oh. it doesn't look so good now. but it's just pre-alpha. We promise, in 3 months when it's released it will be AWESOME". (ref. bungie halo series)

Re:How can it be pre-alpha? (0)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013322)

"Pre-Alpha" = a development release without white-box or black-box testing (but possibly unit-testing).

Alpha = dev release that has undergone WB & BB tests.

Beta = feature complete + usability testing (UAT)..

...

What's common to all releases is there are no guarantees it won't crash your system. The *theoretical* difference is in the probability of that happening...

Clueless about testing... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014202)

I see you're one of those people who knows a few testing buzzwords, and thus consider yourself an expert in the field.

Just so you know, "UAT" refers to user-acceptance testing, not "usability testing" like you've mistakenly claimed. Usability testing checks whether or not the program is convenient to use, whether or not it's accessible to people with handicaps, whether or not it works well with various input and output devices, and so forth.

User-acceptance testing ("UAT") refers to testing that the client or user performs in order to ensure that the system meets their minimum requirements in terms of functionality, usability, stability, reliability, performance, and so on.

Oh, and your breakdown of the tests applied to each release level are pure bunk. They don't even correspond to Firefox's development practices at all. Please refrain from spewing mountains of bullshit the next time you post. Thank you!

Re:Clueless about testing... (2, Interesting)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015098)

First of all, I didn't mean to equate usability Testing with UAT. I put the latter in parentheses, as a possible add-on during that phase, the same way I did for unit testing. True, looking back at it, I could have been more clear, but you throwing insults at me was unwarranted. You could have asked for clarification.

Second, I have been working in Software development since 1994, so yes, I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable in the field, and do not really need a lecture on testing .

Third, my breakdown applies to what is *generally* understood by the terms, not by Firefox's own practices, of which I have no particular knowledge, and don't care that much about anyway. There are differences with each company.

Lastly, if I want more crap from you, I'd just squeeze your little head. So act as an adult, and people will respond accordingly. Or insult, and be insulted. Thank you!

Re:Clueless about testing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32015868)

How would you know they're "pure bunk" and about Firefox's "development practices", do you work there, or do you speak purely out of your ass? Here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_release_life_cycle

From the link above:

"Pre-alpha refers to all activities performed during the software project prior to testing. These activities can include requirements analysis, software design, software development and unit testing."

firefox pretty good on my phone (3, Interesting)

Kludge (13653) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013074)

I like Firefox mobile on my n900. It works pretty well, gives me features not available in the default browser. I have not had memory leak problems with it. However, it does get sluggish if you turn on flash and visit pages with a bunch of flash ads. I should put adblock on it...

Re:firefox pretty good on my phone (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013122)

Even most powerful PC gets sluggish on web pages with bunch of flash 'features'. You can't have as good PC as there are as bad flash/web developers.

fck FF - go with chrome (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014742)

Chrome's faster than firefox in almost all platforms. In addition, google actually supports Chrome - and it has some novel features....

Firefox is now just another bloated browser - and am sure it wont be much better on the mobile.

Bye Bye Firefox!

Who wants Firefox on Android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013088)

I want Firefox on Steroids!

Why bother? (1)

Zoidbot (1194453) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013114)

When Opera on Android is so much more complete, faster and does not eat up all your memory?

Yes please, sign me up for an inferior Firefox experience, just because it's Open Source...

Re:Why bother? (2, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013156)

Some of us don't like our data being proxied and processed off our phones. I know it's a fine line, but my Android browser has good JS support. Why would I want to throw that away for a little bit of speed?

Re:Why bother? (1)

Zoidbot (1194453) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013860)

Then use Opera Mobile...

Re:Why bother? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015100)

You're confusing opera mini with opera mobile.

Re:Why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32016042)

The opera UI sucks donkey balls on android is why.

Is it as fast as Opera Mini with Turbo? (2, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013172)

Probably not.

Re:Is it as fast as Opera Mini with Turbo? (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015484)

Possibly.
Opera Mini for Android is a mistake. It being fast is about the only redeeming feature.
Zero system integration. Change screen orientation and the page needs to reload.
You can't set it as a browser of choice for other apps like barcode scanner or local search.

It loads goddamned ages and takes way too much RAM. You could say it should be no problem because it loads once? Well, nope. No system integration = no clipboard. So you have to switch to the GPS app, memorize one coordinate, switch to Opera, type it in. Switch back to GPS app, memorize the other coordinate, switch to Opera... oops, it got unloaded and now it needs to load. Whaever you entered is gone. You forgot the second coordinate by the time it loaded. So you go back to the GPS app and memorize the first coordinate again... you see where I'm going...

I gave it a fair chance, I really did use it for quite a while. But sorry, both the built in browser and Dolphin are vastly better.

This could cause problems with large pages... (1)

greatgreygreengreasy (706454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013250)

...large pages like slashdot.org.

SUPERULTRA-HD entertainment (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013394)

For that you have applications which serve as intermediate aggrators.
It're still phones, creating a "mobile experience" (quotes to emphasis the literal meaning compared to associated device) experience).

As a sidenote: I love how this sortof interaction is integrating better in an active lifestyle, we've been dreaming up these kindof things for decades as nerds, slaving away from behind bulky phosphorous screens in our basements, in isolation. While now, the "sharing" and reality overlay aspect helps to find, experience, inform and navigate ourselfs, very efficiently in the outside world without dependency on others almost: it's like being guided and navigated through a complex system and be able to interact with it, fully informed, while blindly trusting the experience (after googling it, entering a GPS coordinate, finding points of interests, documenting, sharing, trusting on information on your handheld device while navigating the unknown outside world.) In a way, it's a superhighdefinition (with near infity resolution) entertainment experience: "what do I want to see/experience today?" and you load up your guidance program on your device and navigate the ultra-HD show. It makes DVD look like lowgrade, uninspired and boring, doesn't it? In the ultrahd experience, actors are improvising on the spot. No crummy cliché plotlines, but kindof recurring clichées persist though until you move further away.

This is what, in my eyes, the geekculture has worked for the last decade to integrate this ideal thoughtbased "fantasyworld", the interwebs, into the real world and extrapolate that experience.

Re:SUPERULTRA-HD entertainment (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014058)

ZeroExistenZ,

What you want to say really seems to be interesting but, without punctuation, it requires a bit too much effort to decrypt.

I wouldn't care if I wasn't almost sure there was something interesting to read, somewhere in there.

I hope you don't take this as destructive criticism.

Re:SUPERULTRA-HD entertainment (1)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014184)

I hope you don't take this as destructive criticism.

Not taken as such :)

I was in a hurry to complete the thought and sortof cut short on formatting. Thanks for your constructive feedback ;)

Well, I tried to post from Firefox on Droid (4, Interesting)

Zeussy (868062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013290)

But I made the fatal mistake of putting it into landscape to get a better keyboard, and it brought my phone (Desire) to a crawl. I assume it was trying to rebuild the page layout, something bad happened and displayed a black page.

It Shows promise, it is not usable (obviously) but the UI design seems better than the inbuilt browser. With tabs off screen to the left, and navigation buttons off screen to the right.

Would of been nice to see pinch zoom working, and I am assume that it will (or a custom build that will).
From what I have seen, when it heads into a more stable phase, I would probably swap right away.

Re:Well, I tried to post from Firefox on Droid (1)

twoDigitIq (1352643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013800)

I tried as well from my stock 2.1 Droid and found it almost unusable. It looked nice, but didn't work. When I clicked the address bar to type the url, it did not bring up the onscreen keyboard. (Using the default android soft keyboard.) Hard keyboard to the rescue, made it to slashdot.org, clicked the Reply link. When I typed a character in the subject line the page scrolled away from what I was typing. Scrolled back, typed another character and it did the same thing.

That was enough pre-alpha testing for me. Went to the home screen and the phone had become sluggish. Opened Astro to view the process memory usage and Fennec was not listed. It had either crashed or Android killed it for me (probably because it was hogging memory.) Went back to the home screen and everything was back to normal. Uninstalled. If they get to beta I'll definitely give it another try. The interface looked promising.

Android momentum... (5, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013504)

I can smell the momentum in the air with Android. I was one of the first people (suckers/early adopters) to buy a G1 handset from T-Mobile. At the time I had a 2G iPhone. Used the G1 for a week, went back to my unlocked, jailbroken iPhone because it had a bunch of great apps that worked well, better form factor, better touchscreen, and much more usable.

Fast forward 16 months, during which time the G1 has sat there and gathered dust. I've finally gotten fed up with my 3G iPhone, the closed ecosystem, the limited email application which is the dealbreaker for me (lack of IMAP IDLE still - msgpush.com is not an option for me, and switching email services to support the technologies Steve Jobs approves of is ridiculous). The other day I decided to blow the dust off my G1, update to the latest software (which on a G1 means running CyanogenMod since the official updates are still stuck at Android 1.6 for G1s, and CyanogenMod is a 1.6/2.0 hybrid - and despite rumors to the contrary, CyanogenMod is rock-solid stable on the G1) and see how much things have improved over the last 18 months.

The openness of the Android platform is what really is blowing me away. Running CyanogenMod, installing themes, downloading up-to-the-minute app releases and bug fixes from open source projects and vendors without having to go through Market is absolutely liberating after 2 and change years of iPhone usage, and having to clamor for every feature addition and update. On Android, if you want a new feature, you can usually find it or you can add it yourself - K9mail is the best living example of this itch-scratching driving innovation.

Anyway, more specifically on the topic - I don't know if Fennec/Mobile Firefox will be a winner or not in the short run. Most likely it will take a while to get there - remember how long Mozilla took to get to a usable desktop browser? But ultimately, more browser competition on Android will be a very good thing, and AdBlock would be sweet. The fact that we have these choices on Android drives innovation and competition, and is the reason that the platform is currently improving faster than the iPhone platform. And makes it a much more fun place to be as a geek than iPhone-land right now.

Re:Android momentum... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013764)

This post is brimming with win. I'm running CyanogenMod on my Moto Droid and it blows away stock 2.1. Also agree that K9-mail is far superior to the Android stock e-mail app.

Re:Android momentum... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014000)

Just out of curiosity, what does CM offer that stock 2.1 + root + SetCPU + Helixlauncher doesn't?

Re:Android momentum... (2, Informative)

SilentMobius (10171) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014760)

* Wireless and USB tethering.
* CIFS mount,
* Bluetooth HID keyboard demon (with some fiddling)
* Extra 200+MB memory (Due to a kernel problem in the stock rom the N1 can only use half it's memory).
* Use of the LED flash as a torch, ability to use coloured notification lights in the trackball
* Ability to screenshot any app without using the SDK
* 360deg screen rotation

Those are the things that I unlocked my N1's bootloader for

Re:Android momentum... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32016022)

Yes all these as well as apps2sd, and the fact that I hate the stock theme. Not that it's impossible to theme the stock 2.1 but there's a lot of devs on cyanogenmod forums that are dedicated to making some really cool themes for CM (though I admit that themes can often introduce some bugginess).

Re:Android momentum... (1)

Big Boss (7354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014770)

Speed. Stock 2.x ROMs run SLOW on a G1, even with swap/Compcache enabled. Other builds are significantly faster. Try SuperD or SuperEclair, very fast compared to even stock 1.6 ROMs.

Re:Android momentum... (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014062)

Same here with my G1. I upgraded to Cyanogenmod and it was like installing a new phone on my phone (cyanogen must have heard I liked using phones!).

It's great to see options. If t-mobile and HTC are slow to upgrade their phones, other people can pickup the slack. I'd have PAID for cyanogenmod if I knew how good it was going to be.

This diversity is a great thing you won't see on the iPhone until the Android port becomes stable enough for regular use. ;)

Re:Android momentum... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013810)

If you want open, the N900 is far more so than either Android or the iPhone. But that isn't what people really want, which is why the N900 will also not sell as well as the Android, and the Android in turn will not sell as well as the iPhone.

People want a walled garden, carefully controlled for their benefit. They do not want freedom with all the mess it brings.

Re:Android momentum... (1)

gVibe (997166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014106)

Steve Jobs? Is that you posting anonymously?

Give me a break. 1/3 Of Android phones are already accounting for 96% of mobile web traffic, which makes Android the leader over the iPhone for Web Traffic http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/27/admob-report-11-devices-account-for-96-percent-of-android-traffic-motorola-droid-takes-the-lead/ [techcrunch.com] . The Market Place has more than 50,000 apps already, up from merely 10,000 a month ago.

Motorola/Verizon sold more Droid's in the first 74 days than the iPhone did in the first 74 days of its existence http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2010/03/16/flurry-more-droid-devices-than-iphones-sold-in-first-74-days-on-the-market/ [mobilecrunch.com] .

What was that you were saying about Android momentum? And let's not even try bringing Nokia into this battlefield...since they are still pushing Symbian(^3) which just shows they don't have the innovation mojo to even compete anymore.

Re:Android momentum... (3, Interesting)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013890)

I absolutely agree with you regarding the momentum of Android. I know the iPhone still has a significant part of the market share, but, I was at a conference this weekend in which I saw a large portion of the crowd using Android phones. Much of that crowd was made up of college students and young professionals, many who were very technically competent. I know that people who have been asking me which smartphone to get have been getting recommendations to go with the Android platform. I can only assume that other tech-savvy folks are making the same recommendation to their friends and family.

Re:Android momentum... (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014114)

The openness of the Android platform is what really is blowing me away.

Out of curiosity, are there any Android devs here who can comment on how easy/convenient the platform is to develop for?

App store shenanigans aside, the iPhone seems to be a rather nice platform to write software on. How does Android compare? Is the documentation good? Can most apps be written without a maze of external libraries?

(Genuine question here -- I don't own either, and have only developed for BlackBerry (ick))

Re:Android momentum... (2, Informative)

Big Boss (7354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014708)

I've written code on Android. It's based on Java, and includes most of the standard Java SDK library classes. If you've written Java, or even C++, you should be fine. You can add external libraries if you like, but most apps probably won't need to. I really like the Eclipse integration they did, you can even do interactive debugging on the code while it's running on your phone. There is also a nice emulator you can use if you wish to test other versions of the OS and such. Overall, I find it quite easy to get most things done, and the docs are pretty good. At least as good as the Java SDK.

Re:Android momentum... (1)

dotNetProgrammer (1311353) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015538)

I work for a university and we have an iPhone app in the App Store. In fact we are several versions deep on our iPhone app. The development for iPhone is not "rather nice" in my opinion. Objective C is not standard anywhere but Apple. Existing C++ skills don't translate well. XCode is not a great UI... The list goes on.... Two weekends ago I was going to come in on a Saturday and download the Windows Mobile 7 SDK, and write a WinMo 7 app, but the current WinMo SKD uses a release candidate of VS2010, and I have already installed the release VS2010. So instead I switched gears and downloaded the Droid SDK and Eclipse. It was a breath of fresh air compared to iPhone development! Our next mobile application will be for Android.

Re:Android momentum... (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32016208)

I'm just starting out with Android development, but I find it quite easy to get into. All the tools, emulator and everything is freely downloadable and fairly easy to set up. The online documentation is pretty good too - there's some hands-on tutorials that really help you get up to speed.

The programming model is a little different, but fairly easy to understand. Any one view - one screen, pretty much - is a more or less self-contained task. Your application consists of one or more such views - your own or other apps' - that start each other as needed. It can take a few moments to wrap your head around but seems to work fairly well.

Re:Android momentum... (1)

anethema (99553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014488)

I am actually using a Nexus One for now. Not saying I wont get the new iPhone when it comes out, but I had the G1 for a while. This N1 rocks, but the G1 is so dog slow, even with the 1.6/2 CM rom etc and overclocking.

The UI is like a slideshow in comparison to the iPhone. After using that phone for a while, I had to ebay it and go back to iPhone.

That was my first foray into Android land, but this Nexus One is my second and the hardware is -really- nice. The UI still isn't programmed as well as far as physics, animations, and transitions, etc, but its much closer.

Don't you find the G1 to be very slow ?

Re:Android momentum... (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014904)

Well, I still find page rendering quite slow on the G1 relative to an iPhone 3G (i.e. under wifi so it's not a network speed issue), but the UI I find totally fine under CyanogenMod. With a complex page like Slashdot (in old mode, the new web2.0-style Slashdot pages just don't work for shit), it takes something like two to three times as long to render. That's annoying - in fact, EDGE browsing on my iPhone 3G is generally faster than 3G browsing on the G1 which is just stupid.

One note - you have to use the lock home in memory option (should be enabled by default) or else the home page respawns can be excruciating if you are using a bunch of widgets or many icons. Once I figured that out, no problems.

The G1 is stupidly designed with way too little memory, and an underpowered CPU. Like I said, the hardware is lame, no doubt.

I think I'm going to get myself a Nexus One this week.

Re:Android momentum... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32015676)

Don't get me wrong, I love Android as much as the next guy, but this:

The fact that we have these choices on Android drives innovation and competition, and is the reason that the platform is currently improving faster than the iPhone platform

is total horseshit. The reason the Android platform is improving faster than the iPhone platform is that the iPhone platform had a several year head start and has been around a lot longer. Things eventually plateau on any platform. Android is just starting to pick up speed, whereas the iPhone has been barreling down the highway for a couple years now. Hopefully someone sets up a nail strip in front of the iPhone so that Android can catch up. Hell if we wait long enough, it will likely be Jobs himself who sets up the strip!

Re:Android momentum... (2, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32016776)

Well, I originally clarified, but edited my post for brevity. In short - the reason Android came so far in the first 12-18 months post launch was because it sucked at launch, and those early gains were easy. That is true. You can say essentially the same thing about the iPhone of course - at launch it lacked a real SDK or app framework, it was slow and buggy and limited in functionality, so it came a long way at first as well.

But factoring that first rush of progress out and looking at what's going on right now - things like k9mail and CyanogenMod have no real analogs in the iPhone world. These are improvements to the fundamentals of the platform (email app, home page/launcher, browser, etc.) that are being made by the community, rather than by Google itself or the hardware licensees - though some licensees such as HTC have made their own excellent improvements as well (HTC's keyboard, and their Sense UI).

I think Steve Jobs is the nail strip - the unwillingness to open up the platform to real changes or innovations from the outside gives Apple more control over the user experience, and may make things more consistent and predictable and profitable for Apple, but it also limits progress in the longer run.

Re:Android momentum... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32016900)

The openness of the Android platform is what really is blowing me away. Running CyanogenMod, installing themes, downloading up-to-the-minute app releases and bug fixes from open source projects and vendors without having to go through Market is absolutely liberating after 2 and change years of iPhone usage, and having to clamor for every feature addition and update. On Android, if you want a new feature, you can usually find it or you can add it yourself - K9mail is the best living example of this itch-scratching driving innovation.

Soo.. you are blown away with what you can do with android once you've gone and flashed it with an illegal firmware? (CyanogenMod does not have permission to re-ship the Google applications like Maps and the like). Might as well compare to the jail-broken iphone rather than the app store at that point, since you obviously aren't comparing the thing as a consumer, but as a hacker (in the tinkering sense of the word).

Sweet! (1)

fortapocalypse (1231686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013526)

Now if carriers would just lower the cost of their data plans, maybe we could afford to try it out!

Re:Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014492)

Now if carriers would just lower the cost of their data plans, maybe we could afford to try it out!

Plans are already pretty cheap. I am paying 10 per month for unlimited high speed Internet (medium data plan). The first 200MB are high speed (up to 7.5MBit/s). After 200MB transfer I get downgraded to GPRS Speed. If 200MB is not enough you can upgrade to the big plan for a couple of (Euro symbol here) more.

You are just getting fucked by your USA carriers.

BTW, the prices are in Euro but Slashdot can't show the symbol when I type it ... this is quite embarrassing for a geek web site.

Re:Sweet! (2, Funny)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015740)

BTW, the prices are in Euro but Slashdot can't show the symbol when I type it ... this is quite embarrassing for a geek web site.

It's not Slashdot's fault that UTF-8 doesn't support the euro symbol.

How does this work? Native or links to java? (2, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013534)

How does this technology work? Since the android gui is written in a java dialect, and firefox is written in C/C++, how does a C++ program run on a java VM? As one big native plugin?

anyway,having a runnin POC might attact other developers, that cannot be bad for fennec.

Re:How does this work? Native or links to java? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013876)

Probably uses the Android NDK (instead of the SDK)
http://developer.android.com/sdk/ndk/index.html

Re:How does this work? Native or links to java? (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014028)

Yes i am aware of its exsistance, however it states:

"What is the Android NDK?

The Android NDK is a toolset that lets you embed components that make use of native code in your Android applications.

Android applications run in the Dalvik virtual machine. The NDK allows you to implement parts of your applications using native-code languages such as C and C++. This can provide benefits to certain classes of applications, in the form of reuse of existing code and in some cases increased speed."

You loose all the android widgets due to this? So the browser getsa different look/feel?

Re:How does this work? Native or links to java? (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014014)

Maybe certain libraries were ported over using the NDK or just ported to java, but I doubt any porting of the front end was done. It was probably just a new browser written for android with Mozilla vision, not a port of the desktop version.

Re:How does this work? Native or links to java? (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014216)

Android uses DalvikVM, which is a vm designed for mobile devices. It's not as advanced nor as fast as Sun's JVM, it doesn't use JIT yet and the JIT implementation it has is very new.

Firefox will be a native port. Chrome Jr. that comes with Android is similar, it's webkit, which is also a native library.

Re:How does this work? Native or links to java? (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014240)

Android has a C API [android.com] . I imagine they ported Gecko via that, and then implemented XUL using Android UI components.

As fast as Opera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013550)

Probably not. But it supports hundreds of plugins, e.g. to block annoying ads or flash banners, to filter stupid foxnews headlines out of google news, you know, things that make nowadays internet actually enjoyable.

Just tried it (2, Interesting)

bloosh (649755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013650)

I just installed it on my rooted, custom ROMmed and overclocked Motorola Droid.... and it worked! I played with it for about 10 minutes. It didn't crash my phone, reboot my phone or damage my phone in any way.

It's absolutely alpha quality software at this point, so don't expect much from it. But it has lots of potential and I'm absolutely confident this will turn into a great browser on Android.

Android Logo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014002)

With so many android stories why doesn't slashdot start using the "official" android logo?

Oh, great... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014598)

"Mozilla has unveiled a build for handsets running Android 2.0 or above."

So I can wait around for TMO to declare that 2.0+ will NOT be released for my G1. I'll have to root it.

Ok, one more reason.

And for you who ask 'why would I rerplace Webkit with this?', I offer you some reasons:

1. Rather than usae Steel, Firefox might let you set the user agent to 'Desktop' or equivalent, allowing you to get your regular fully-featured version of iGoogle instead of the neutered, 'mobile' version. Google has decided, in their infinte wisdom, to force mobile brwsers to use mobil renders of their pages wherever possible. This is, from a Google blog, 'intended to give mobile users a consistent user experience'. If I wanted a consistently mobile experience, I would have gotten a BlackBerry. I wanted a BETTER experience, so I got an Android phone. Evil, you are. Subvert, I will. Root, I must.

2. Better UI? Everything beyond typing in a URL or clicking requires the Menu button in the stock Browser. Steel gives you an onscreen crescent to go back/forward, swap windows, open new windows, or get bookmarks. I would expect Mozilla to do something like that in Fennec - but we do have to wait and see.

3. Faster? never know...

4. Even more malware blocking? I don't see anything that hurts my phone yet, and I use it to open stuff I distrust just to see what happens. Fennec might be even more fun.

5. It might actually clear the cache on exit, instead of growing like a weed despite having the setting 'clear cache on exit' selected. One can dream...

Take it from a mozilla volunteer. (1)

irreverant (1544263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014638)

Fennec has been around for a while actually. Most of the speculating can be placed at rest from this site: https://wiki.mozilla.org/Projects/Mobile [mozilla.org] Unfortunately, if anyone is wondering, no there will not be a version for Windows Mobile phones, as there is no NDK (Native Developers Kit). I would prefer to use firefox on my phone, but i'm stuck with opera mobile 9.

Overkill (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014888)

I love Firefox. I use it on all my computers as a browser. It offers me more features than Chrome, and more stability and security than IE.

That said, I don't want to use it on my Droid. My droid is a 500MHz piece with very limited RAM, and Firefox has a whole buttload of overhead. The browser that came with Android 1.2 is just fine for me. Does Firefox for Android add flash support? That would be the only reason I could ever bring myself to use it.

Re:Overkill (1)

bloosh (649755) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015464)

Root & overclock. Problem solved.

Fail in summary (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015710)

The mobile version of Firefox, codenamed Fennec, has until now been restricted to Maemo Linux handsets

O [mozilla.org] RLY? [ubuntu.com] Perhaps submitters should check to see if they know WTF they are talking about before they add flowery language to their story submissions. Wouldn't hurt if editors checked their veracity (AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHA)

Isn't the OS flawed? (1)

massysett (910130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32016260)

He says the browser might require me to reboot my phone. Isn't this a sign of a flawed operating system? An application shouldn't cause the entire phone to freeze.

I was experiencing random glitches on my Motorola Droid. Verizon told me to do a factory reset because sometimes apps make the phone do strange things, hampering the phone's functionality. Shouldn't a proper OS keep apps from messing up the whole phone, no matter how crappy the app is?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?