Firefox Mobile (aka Fennec) alpha for Android and Nokia N900

I just read that Fennec (the code name for Firefox for mobile devices) has been released as an alpha for Android devices and the Nokia N900:

The Alpha release of the next major version of Fennec is now available for Android and Nokia N900 users to download and test. Fennec (codename for Firefox mobile) is the first mobile browser to offer add-ons and is built on the same technology that powers desktop Firefox. The latest version of Fennec builds on the rich set of features from the previous release and makes it easier for you to bring your Firefox experience with you anywhere.

Fennec Alpha now creates one fluid Web experience between desktop and mobile devices by providing Firefox Sync built-in into the browser, which provides seamless access to Awesome Bar browsing history, bookmarks, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs.

The main focus of this release is to increase performance and responsiveness to user actions. This is being implemented using two major technologies, “Electrolysis” and “Layers.” This Alpha release includes Electrolysis, which allows the browser interface to run in a separate process from the one rendering Web content. By doing this, Fennec is able to react much faster to user input while pages are loading or CPU intensive JavaScript is running. The upcoming beta release will start taking advantage of Layers to greatly improve performance in graphic intensive actions like scrolling, zooming, animations and video. We’re also working to optimize these actions using the hardware-accelerated graphics rendering capabilities showing up in today’s mobile devices.

The idea of having a Firefox browser on my mobile phone has appealed to me since I saw it on the Nokia N900 I tested at the beginning of the year. The built in browser on Android 2.1 is pretty good and I believe it gets even faster in Android 2.2 (still waiting for the official release here in SA).

I like what I see in this Fennec demo although I do wonder about its memory footprint. My HTC Desire has very little available memory so space is really at a premium:

(Source: WebMonkey)



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