Mozilla Fennec for Android pre-alpha released

April 29, 2010 // 10:25 a.m.

Tags: #android #browser #fennec #fennec-alpha #fennec-android #fennec-apk #firefox-android #firefox-mobile #mozilla-fennec #smartphone

The Mozilla Foundation has launched the first public preview of Fennec - also known as Firefox Mobile - for Android.

While an early release has been available for the Maemo-based Nokia N900 for a while, this pre-alpha marks the first time users will be able to try out the mobile browser on Google's Android platform.

Mozilla's Vladimir Vukićević explains that the software is in the early stages and can be a trifle buggy, saying that "memory usage of this build isn't great - in many ways it's a debug build, and we haven't done a lot of optimisation yet."

The early state of the Android Fennec build is also reflected in the devices supported, with your handset requiring Android 2.0 or newer and with the team only really having tested it out on the Motorola Droid - known as the Milestone in Europe - and Google's own Nexus One.

If you're willing to risk it - and Vukićević confidently states that this pre-alpha "will likely not eat your phone" - you'll get a sneak preview of what the mobile version of Firefox will be like, complete with the ability to synchronise bookmarks and settings with a desktop Firefox installation via Mozilla Weave.

Sadly, it won't be replacing the in-built Android browser just yet - currently there is no way of using Fennec as the default action when links are opened from other applications, although Vukićević states this is likely to make an appearance in the next build.

For those itching to give it a go - and who have an Android 2.0 or 2.1 handset - the installation APK can be downloaded from here.

Could Mozilla's Fennec be the mobile browser of the future, or is there more to developing for smartphones than just scaling down a desktop browser? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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