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Fennec leaps into beta

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Fennec, the mobile version of Firefox, has gone to beta. Though currently only available for the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, it appears to be functional and stable.

Firefox introduced many innovations into desktop browsing, most of which have since been emulated by the competition. On mobile phones the competition is already fierce, and Fennec will have a hard time proving its value against other browsers which already offer much of what made Firefox so compelling.

The latest beta incorporates the revoltingly-named "awesome bar", as well as TraceMonkey - a much-enhanced JavaScript engine for the fast execution of scripts which is becoming increasing important in mobile browsing. Panning and zooming are also much smoother, which is vital in providing a quality experience, as so ably demonstrated by the iPhone's implementation of Safari.

Less pleasing to content owners, but vital to most Firefox users, is a popup blocker and support for plug-ins - many of which provide new ways of removing adverts on the desktop version of Firefox.

Unique to Fennec are the ability to dial numbers from websites and a location-seeking API.

If you happen to have an N810, or are interested enough to try Fennec in an emulator, then Mozilla provides comprehensive download instructions. The rest of us will just have to be content with a video demonstration of the new browser. ®


Fennec Beta 1 walkthrough from Madhava Enros on Vimeo.

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