It would seem that Android has as many browsers as Baskin Robbins has flavors. With the latest release of Firefox for Android, to version 14.0, we have another full featured browser to add to our arsenal. Gone is the beta tag and with it has come some interesting enhancements. Here are a list of updates within the browser in their attempt to lure a majority of our readers who surely use either the default browser or Chrome for Android.
New features in this version are for PHONES only:
- Flash support
- Redesigned user interface
- Significant performance advancements
- New start page
- Updated minimum system requirements to Android 2.2+ for optimized experience
No new features in this version for tablets.
- Flash not supported on tablets and non-ICS Tegra 2 devices
- Galaxy Note stylus issues with keyboard
- Find in page not supported
Firefox is dedicated, for now, to continue flash support within their mobile browser. On my Nexus S, the playback was typical for my phone using Flash. It was a choppy but mostly working experience. It also took me a while to get Firefox Sync working, but once I figured out that another computer was the home base for sync, I was able to figure it out from my home browser. I noticed few speed improvements vs prior releases, but the interface, ease of adding bookmarks, and tabbed browsing all looked vastly improved.
Ron at Droid Life has written a more detailed posting and some bench marks with Firefox compared to other third party browsers for Android. With improved security, add ons, and other enhancements, this puts them on par with other established browsers such as Dolphin, Skyfire, or Opera Mini. What remains to be seen is if this becomes as bulky and weighed down as these browsers sometimes can become as well.
Mozilla continues and appears dedicated to win back the hearts and minds of us within the Android community. I have found myself very immersed within the Chrome ecosystem and do not foresee myself making Firefox a daily use browser. However, I have seen some that still use and are dedicated to this open sourced standard. Regardless, the folks at Mozilla deserve our praise and help for continuing to improve web standards and provide us all with a better web experience.
Is anyone using the Firefox browser for their primary mobile web use? Feel free to share what you are using in the comments.