Mozilla's New Mobile Browser, Fennec, Makes Big Gains
April 10, 2008 2:00 PM
comment(s) - last by
Mozilla's new browser is cranking up its performance impressively
looks geared to make impressive gains
PC browser marketshare war
. However, with cell phones, smart phones, and other mobile devices being one of the
hottest market segments right now
, Firefox is serious in its belief that in order to truly become a superpower it must make inroads in these markets.
The Mozilla Mobile initiative first was announced last October, and after lots of hard work has already
reached a functional prototype stage
. The new pre-alpha build codenamed Fennec was presented by Mozilla Mobile director Jay Sullivan, who is gearing up for the August 2008 first alpha build.
Originally it would have been a laughable proposition to consider Firefox on a cell phone. The browser, notorious for its memory bloat, seemed an unlikely candidate. However, with
Firefox 3 shaping up to be perhaps the leanest next generation browser
memorywise, Firefox now certainly seems a viable contender. Thanks to
The difference between Fennec and MicroB, the early browser, produced an easily noticeable speed difference. Typically such differences are more subtle, but with Fennec it was pronounced; the new browser is fast!
And the Fennec developers aren't just focused on developing a top speed and memory performer. They also are equipping the browser with an intuitive interface, including touch capabilities, which will make it a natural fit to the mobile environment. The Fennec browser was based on one of Mozilla's touchscreen mobile interface proposals.
Fennec is not ready for an alpha release yet as many of Firefox's main features need to be added or implemented still. However it already supports useful inertial scrolling and a single click bookmark system similar to that of Firefox 3. Support for Mozilla's new AwesomeBar technology will eventually be added, but is not present currently.
"The current build you've got is really just a starting point to give us a framework to start experimenting, doing performance tests, etc.," says Sullivan, "It's a true peek under the hood, and you're able to get that peek because of the unique level of openness we have at Mozilla."
He continues, "Our goal on mobile is to embody the principles that have made Firefox so successful on the desktop, but with the recognition that mobile is different—not so much in that it presents some constraints, but in that it enables new types of experiences, and people's interaction with these devices are different than when they're sitting at their desks. Web compatibility, security, performance, support for rich internet apps will all be key."
"With existing mobile browsers, it's hard to do basic things like enter URLs, navigate around rich pages, switch between multiple pages, and in general the browser is in a silo separate from the rest of what the phone can do," Sullivan explains, "We're doing some creative thinking about how to make it easier to get to the content you care about, easier to navigate within those pages, easier to seamlessly move between your PC and your phone."
The browser is written with XUL, an XML based language, making it easy to modify and extend the browser by modifying its .xul, .js, and .css files. The .js file will allow more complex java script extensions, and the system should support full extensions capability similar to Firefox on the PC. New add-ons are being developed for the browser.
Fennec is currently available in a pre-alpha form for Nokia phones. To download directly,
(install file). To view the roadmap for Fennec,
, and lastly for the wiki page of the development team
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/10/2008 3:38:08 PM
I currently use Opera Mini on my smartphone. But I am curious about this new browser from Mozilla.
It would have to be pretty phenomenal though to get me to switch over. Opera Mini has been outstanding. Before I discovered it, my phone's internet capabilities were almost never used (because mobile IE is god-awful).
But now I use it all the time. I am even using it to make this post. :)
4/10/2008 4:07:46 PM
I LOVED Opera. I have never tried Opera mini, but I'm guessing that it has features reminiscent of Opera's speed and light memory usage. The only reason I went back to Firefox (using Firefox 3 Beta 5 right now) was because Opera didn't load some pages right (yahoo mail, for one). That's why I'm really worried about the Firefox team expanding into the mobile platform market. Even in Beta 5, the memory hole issue is still present. If that bug isn't going anywhere, neither will the idea of Firefox on mobile devices. It just won't fly.
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook
Firefox Makes Big Gains In Business at IE's Expense
April 3, 2008, 1:17 PM
Firefox 3.0 Beta 3 Turns Up The Heat On The Competition
February 13, 2008, 1:20 PM
IE vs Firefox: The Trash Talking Heats Up
December 3, 2007, 3:00 PM
Google and 34 Phone Industry Giants Launch Android OS
November 5, 2007, 11:30 AM
Apple Releases iOS 7.1, The First Major Update to Its "Rethought" Mobile OS
March 10, 2014, 1:52 PM
Windows 8.1 Update 1 Leaked Early
March 7, 2014, 9:30 AM
Xbox One Gets Beta Version of "Project Spark" Starting Today
March 4, 2014, 2:33 PM
Cortana Voice Assistant Coming to Windows Phone in New 8.1 Update
March 3, 2014, 1:09 PM
Microsoft Launches Site to Tell Clueless Customers if They're Running XP
March 3, 2014, 12:34 PM
With Windows XP Support Ending Soon, Microsoft Uses Pop-ups to Encourage Upgrades
March 3, 2014, 9:43 AM
Most Popular Articles
Bitcoin King Pt. II: Mt. Gox's Dictator Karpelès Proves Tragically Flawed
March 7, 2014, 1:12 PM
Hack Reveals Fallen Bitcoin CEO's Posh Tokyo Penthouse
March 10, 2014, 4:28 PM
Tesla Motors Calls New Jersey Out on New Rule Against Its Direct Sales Model
March 11, 2014, 12:01 PM
NASA Considering SpaceX "Red Dragon" for Returning Mars Samples to Earth
March 10, 2014, 2:43 PM
India Could Rock Google With Its Biggest Antitrust Fine Yet -- $5B USD
March 10, 2014, 8:12 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
Global Cyber Espionage Concerns Reveal Growing Cyber Armies
Nov 29, 2013, 11:04 AM
Is The Period Becoming an Expression of Anger?
Nov 26, 2013, 2:02 PM
NSA and Congress -- You Will Never Kill the Constitution, It's an Idea
Nov 10, 2013, 2:00 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information