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Official Firefox mobile Alpha release is out!

Work on the Firefox mobile browser — aka Fennec — has been marching steadily ahead, and the team has released an official Alpha build. The highlights:

  • New Add-Ons Manager
  • New Downloads Manager
  • New CSS based theme
  • TraceMonkey, Mozilla's new JavaScript engine
  • jemalloc, the memory management library used by Mozillla.
  • Faster application start-up time
  • Faster panning
  • Faster zooming
  • Initial implementation of bookmark folders and bookmark editing

Just like with the pre-Alpha and nightly build versions, this was built and tested on an HTC Touch Pro, so there's where you're likely to have the most success. That said, this is Alpha, and bugs are likely.

Says Mozilla's Brad Lassey (read our interview with him here) in his blog:

It is not yet recommended to use this release for daily browsing tasks. Certain performance problems will become immediately apparent to the user. Panning has a noticeable delay between the user first touching the page and the page moving. We are certain that other less obvious bugs exist and we invite you to help bring them to light. You can find detailed information on how to file a good bug in bugzilla , our bug tracking system, here .

So remember, folks. This isn't a finished version, but a pretty big step in the process. Get your download on here (or here directly from your phone), and let us know in the comments how it works for you.

Update: Video of the Alpha release after the break.


Reader comments

Official Firefox mobile Alpha release is out!


Huge download, over 9mb.
Installed OK.
Tried launching...took f o r e v e r to load.
Once loaded, would not respond.

It may not be intended for WM NON-touchscreen devices. Did not check, was too excited to see it in action.

Just some observations from the video:

Add-ons look great. Would love the ability to remove ads to ameliorate loading times.
The Search engine bar that pops up as you enter a URL or text string into the "awesome bar" is really interesting. It looks like you can customize the search engines that are located there; like a google button, wikipedia button, etc. I like it.
I realize that this is just an Alpha, so the speeds will improve as the application matures, but the speeds shown here are entirely unacceptable and will have to be improved dramatically.
It took seven (7) seconds for Fennec to switch from portrait to landscape after the keyboard was slid open.
Every aspect of the zooming and panning was, to put it mildly, "sluggish".
The camera is zoomed tight onto the screen, so I was unable to discern how long it took for letters to appear on the screen after they were pressed on the hardware keyboard....

This is looking more and more promising, and I may even load it onto my Touch Pro later today, but this is a long way from being an Opera Mobile competitor, much less a Mobile Safari competitor. My question is: with the amount of work that most likely still has to be done on this product, will it ever be relevant?

I hope this is better than the last Alpha.
I wait a couple years until the beta is ready.

Losing the market with all the other browsers coming out, and none still can compete with Opera 9.5.