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Updated Mozilla has galloped a new version of Firefox for Android out of the gates just ahead of the expected full launch of Chrome on mobes later this week.

The open-source firm has had a version of its popular browser on little green phones since 2010, but it hasn't lit many Google-mobe-lovers' fires so far.

Chrome has been available in beta since February, but only on Android mobes running Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0).

The new version of Firefox is packed with shiny upgrades and word on the review-vine is pretty positive.

Mozilla claims the browser is twice as fast as Android's built-in one, or "screaming fast" as the marketing speak would have it, and the company is so sure Firefox for Android rocks that it has given it something called the "Awesome Screen".

The Awesome Screen, ie, the redesigned UI, is where one finds the "Awesome Bar", which will now have the top sites, bookmarks and history on it. Mozilla has also built Adobe Flash support into the new Firefox and fixed a number of niggling issues, including blinking characters in form fields.

For some reason incomprehensible to the ordinary Google crank with Chocolate Factory offerings in all areas of their tech life, Google devs weren't ready with Chrome for Android from the start, although the company is widely expected to announce the full version at its I/O developers' conference later this week.

Chrome has been eating into Firefox's slice of the desktop browser market since it came out, but that's not going to matter much if all this jazz about everything going mobile turns out to be true. Since it's all Google gear, much will be expected of the full Chrome for Android whenever it does come out – and a misstep could see Mozilla take the lead. ®

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