Fennic on Android

Fennec, the codename for Mozilla's mobile version of Firefox, is getting a bit of a name change to bring it in line with the current version of Firefox. Fennec 2.0 is currently in alpha and is still being updated with nightly builds, but the "web rendering engines used in both browsers are the same" according to lead developer Mark Finkle. As such, Fennic will be now have its official name changed to "Firefox 4 for Android and Nokia N900" for it's eventual release. The current 4.0b1 version is identical to the 2.0b1 version apart from the version number change. These changes should help Mozilla out with marketing the browser so people aren't confused as to why Firefox mobile is only 2.x, but their desktop version is 4.x. [Mark Finkle's Blog]

 

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Fennec re-versioned to bring it in line with desktop Firefox

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Wow... yippie! Now if it was actually a useful browser that wasn't 40 meg! Last time I used it, about 3 weeks ago, it was SLOW, bloated, ugly and essentially useless. Give me Dolphin HD or the Stock Android browser any day.

There's a reason its still in "ALPHA" --- and not even BETA yet. It's supposed to be "SLOW, bloated, ugly and essentially useless" . . . To a certain extent

Hi, I'm on the Fennec development team.

We still have a ways to go on performance, but the current pre-beta1 builds are way faster than the alpha release just a few weeks ago, and beta2 will be faster still. We're still working on it, which is why Fennec is still in pre-release.

The patches in http://bugzil.la/588607 will reduce the installed size by about 50%, and we have further plans to shrink it even more. These patches aren't checked in yet; they should be in our 4.0b2 beta release.

Even with these fixes, Fennec will still be larger than browsers like Dolphin HD, because it ships its own rendering engine and JavaScript JIT, rather than just reusing the capabilities of the built-in WebKit libraries. (This is what lets Fennec score 217 points on html5test.com, compared to 176 points for Froyo WebKit browsers.)

Some Android phones have limited storage, and their owners might understandably choose not to install apps that come with their own new libraries. But if you have one of the newer phones with 1GB to 8GB of internal storage, then we hope 15-20 MB for a browser will not be a big deal.

Thanks, Matt! We've been preaching over and over that alpha is just that (and I'm sure you guys do, too). Can't wait to see the finished product! :)

I don't think 40 megs would be a big deal. but then again, I have 8GB of internal storage to play with. I really liked what I saw from the browser, I'm anxious to see what the finished(or near finished) product is like once the performance is cleaned up.

While I'd like it to be as small as possible of course, I'll deal with a huge file size for an Android browser that's fully standards compliant, uses plugins, and can sync with my desktop on exit. Anyone who works over the web, imagine being able to whip out your phone and make a quick edit or update something and having all the page controls and code work as designed. You just can't do that with the Android browser, but if it comes with Fennec, sign me up.

On the iPhone I was always on the hunt for a better browser. But I'm very happy with the Android browser, and haven't found any reason to load an alternative.

If I was looking for another browser, I'm sure it wouldn't be this steaming pile.

I seldom use Firefox on the desktop anymore. Google Chrome is that good. I can't see adding that bloat to my phone.

Tried out the latest nightly build on my Fascinate, and while I really do like the fact that it renders images properly (instead of using that odd low-res zoom that's now built-in to Android), it effectively crashed every five minutes and managed to force close my LauncherPro a few times.

I had nothing else running on my phone, so I'm inclined to believe that, as awesome as properly rendered images are, I'm probably not going to use this unless it becomes ridiculously, ridiculously more streamlined than it is.

Yesterday we disabled some code that was causing frequent crashes on the Fascinate (and other Samsung Galaxy S phones). If you try today's nightly build it should be much more stable.