Feeds

Firefox 4 squeezes onto phones

Foxy ... Android ...

Website security in corporate America

Firefox 4 is now available for Android, able to sync bookmarks with its desktop cousin and offer a stable, if occasionally slow, browsing experience.

Available as a free download for Nokia's Maemo-based N900, and in the Android Market for 2.0 and above, the new beta release of Firefox takes a long time to start up, and occasionally stalls for a second or two, but it does offer a usable alternative to the default browser. It has its own pros and cons, of course.

Initially we thought one of those cons was the inability to automatically reformat text when zooming, but it turns out that's in the preferences – and the double-tap brings up a readable version in the way users have become accustomed to. Pinch-zooming also works smoothly, and beyond the sides of the HTML page lurk controls for tabs (on the left) and navigation (to the right).

Firefox Android screen shot

The side bars slide on when one goes beyond the HTML

Playback of Flash content is lacking, despite being supported on the platform, which could become a problem if it is not addressed in the next few versions, but the "Save as PDF" function is a welcome addition – which could be a killer function for some users. Even more interesting is the catalogue of Add-Ins which can extend the functionality of the browser just as they do the desktop version (no AdBlock yet, but it is surely on its way).

Firefox Android screen shot 2

Works very well in landscape too

Previously branded as Fennec – named after a small breed of desert fox with endearingly large ears – the diminutive browser from Mozilla was always intended to share a name across platforms for the sake of brand consistency. Mozilla reckons the Firefox name has popular appeal, and even had a fox wandering around Mobile World Congress to promote the brand (it may have been a human dressed up as a fox, we're not experts on that kind of thing).

One might question why Android needs another browser; the built-in browser works acceptably well, and we already have Opera. But greater competition can drive innovation, and integration with the desktop brand becomes important as mobile browsing moves away from the peeking-through-the-keyhole-to-get-the-data-I-really-need model towards an extension of the desktop experience. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.