What's New in Firefox Beta for Android
The latest version of Firefox Beta for Android has the following changes:
- New Look for Tablets: Firefox Beta has a new experience for tablets that leverages the large screen size and makes mobile Web browsing more intuitive. Popular Firefox features like tabs and the Awesome Screen are optimized for tablets
- Full-Screen Portrait Browsing: Firefox Beta takes advantage of large tablet screens so you can use the full screen to browse the Web, even in portrait mode. Tabs are listed in a top left menu and easily hide when you don’t need them
- Tab Optimization: Tabs are shown as thumbnails in the left panel of Firefox Beta, allowing you to easily switch between tabs while still viewing full websites on the right. You can swipe to the left to hide tabs for a full screen view
- New Action Bar with Quick Access Buttons: You can access Firefox Preferences, Add-ons, downloads and more in the new Action Bar menu (next to the Awesome Bar). The Action Bar adds back, forward and bookmark buttons for easy access
- HTML Input Tag for Camera Access: Developers can build mobile websites and Web apps that allow you to use the camera on an Android phone or tablet to take pictures, scan bar codes and more without leaving Firefox
- HTML5 Form Validation: Firefox Beta supports the HTML5 Form Validation API which automatically validates website form fields like numbers, emails and URLs without developers needing to write a custom code or use a third-party library
- Firefox for Android is built on the same rendering engine as Firefox for desktop computers. Please see the Firefox release notes for additional relevant changes
What's New with Add-ons
There are now over 160 add-ons for Firefox for mobile, and counting. Thanks to our awesome community, the number of exciting compatible add-ons increases constantly.If you are a developer: Now is the time to extend your reach and build a new awesome add-on, or to make your mobile add-ons compatible with Firefox for Android. Find all the tools and resources you need on the Mozilla Developer Network.
Existing add-on developers can find more information about the specific changes in this version on the Mozilla Developer Network.
Please see the features from previous releases to see what other technologies are available for add-on developers.
Build Add-ons for Mobile
Although Firefox for the desktop and mobile are built on the same technology platform, there are differences that will require developers to make changes to their add-ons in order to become compatible with Firefox for Android.
Firefox for Android supports Restartless Add-ons. Visit the Electrolysis and Add-ons wiki page and the Add-ons Training Week documentation to learn more.
What’s Under the Hood
- The same browser engine as Firefox for desktop
- Leading web standards compatibility
- Optimized for ARM processors
- Location-Aware Browsing
- Web workers
- Offline storage
- Form validation
- online/offline events
- Native JSON
In addition, Firefox Beta for Android supports:
- IPv6 on Android
- "overflow: scroll" and "overflow: auto" CSS properties
- Restartless Add-ons
- HTML5 online/offline events
- ...and much more.
This list covers some of the known problems with Firefox Beta for Android which will be resolved in future versions:
- The Swiftkey X input method can cause some character duplication issues when using "backspace" (see bug 672661).
- Unable to zoom in/out a webpage on header/footer when a double tap gesture is made (see bug 639504)
- Sync Now button is active even if the Sync is in progress (see bug 656594)
- We found an extremely rare case where the browser may become unable to load web pages or close tabs. This should not happen in normal operation (see bug 676780), but we are working on a solution. Clearing the browser profile (Settings -> Applications -> Clear Data) resolves it, but may remove useful browser data like bookmarks and web history. Recommendation: use Firefox Sync for a seamless web experience across all your devices that run Firefox.
- For some users HTML5 video may load slowly and display rendering artifacts on the screen during playback (see bug 622839)
- Reloading a page increases the zoom level (see bug 628269)
- Users who have a large desktop profile using Firefox Sync may see some performance issues during the initial sync process
- Adobe Flash and other plugins are not supported. Currently, enabling the Flash plugin results in a compromised user experience across Firefox for mobile
Firefox is available for Android 2.1 and higher.
Firefox requires 512 MB of RAM and around 17 MB of storage. However, Android 2.2 users can move Firefox and user data to the SD card using Android’s Settings app.
This release requires a phone with an ARMv7 processor. Before installing Firefox on your Android phone, visit the Platforms and Device Requirements page. See a full list of supported and unsupported devices by visiting our System Requirements wiki.
Download Firefox and Firefox Beta by visiting Firefox.com/m on your Android phone or Nokia N900. On your Android phone, search the Android Market for "Firefox". Visit the Platforms and Device Requirements page to make sure your phone meets the system requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Firefox available for my phone?
- Firefox is available for Android (2.1 or higher) phones with compatible hardware, and for the Nokia N900. See the Supported Devices page to see if Firefox is compatible with your Android device. You can download Firefox for Android and for the Nokia N900 at firefox.com/m. If Firefox for mobile is not available for your device or platform, we're continuing to investigate ways to bring parts of the Firefox experience to you. Learn more about our mobile projects.
- How will Firefox keep me safe while I browse on my mobile?
- Mozilla’s open source process leverages the experience of thousands of security experts around the globe, and Firefox includes features like HTTP Strict Transport Security, which lets Firefox work together with web site authors to protect you against eavesdropping and web forgery. Customizable security settings to manage passwords, cookies, loading images and installing add-ons give you complete control over your browsing experience. Learn more.
- How do I use the Firefox user interface to browse the Web?
- To save space on your phone’s display, Firefox browser controls are stowed away to the sides of the screen. Swipe right to access your tabs on the left side of the screen. Swipe left to view one-touch bookmarking, back and forward, and access your browser tools. To let you see more of the Web site, your browser controls and Awesome Bar get stowed away out of view. when you scroll down a Web page, but they instantly reappear if you pan to either side. Tap on the on Web site icon to the left of the Awesome Bar to open the Site Menu and manage your relationship with the current web page.
- What is the Awesome Screen?
- The Awesome Screen pops up just by tapping on the location bar. It instantly brings up a smart list of your favourite history items and bookmarks and lets you easily select a search engine for your desired search. You can also customize your search engine list for maximum efficiency.
- How do I zoom in and out?
- For Android phones, pinch to zoom in and out, or double-tap. For the Nokia N900, you can use the volume button on the top of your phone, or double tap the screen with your finger to zoom in and out. Also, on the Nokia N900, Ctrl-up and Ctrl-down arrows will zoom in and out.
- How do I bookmark a web page?
- Go to the site you wish to bookmark. Touch the bookmark “star” button on the right side of your display.
- How do I open a new tab?
- Touch the new tab "plus" button on the left side of your display screen to open a new tab. Tabs appear as thumbnails so you can easily see which page you’d like to select.
- What are Firefox Add-ons and how can I get them on my mobile device?
- Add-ons are small pieces of software that let you add or change the look or functionality of Firefox. Install add-ons directly to your Firefox by swiping to the left and tapping on the browser tools "gear" button on the bottom right-hand side of your screen, then choosing the add-ons “puzzle piece” button to discover and install the add-ons that are most useful to you.
- How can I share my Firefox bookmarks, history, tabs, and passwords between my desktop and my mobile?
- Firefox Sync is a built-in feature of Firefox that lets you synchronize your desktop and mobile data. To use this feature, you must first install Firefox for the desktop (version 4 or higher). Then go to Tools, Set Up Sync and follow the prompts to create a Sync Account. Once you have an account on your desktop, go to Firefox on your mobile phone, tap on Browser Tools button. Scroll down the Preferences pane and tap Connect under the Sync section. A one-time code will appear. Go back to your Sync account info, select “Add Device” and enter the code from your phone. Learn more about setting up Firefox Sync on your mobile.
- Do I need to setup Firefox Sync to use Firefox on my phone?
- No. Although we think Firefox Sync is highly useful, it is feature that you can choose to use or not. The Awesome Screen will start to get to know you and take you to your favorite parts of the Web with minimal typing, even without Firefox Sync.
- What are the trade-offs to using Firefox Sync in Firefox?
- Although we think Firefox Sync is highly useful, it is still in its experimental phase. Those who use Firefox Sync and who have large desktop profiles, may detect performance issues on their mobile. We are working to resolve this in future releases.
- What is Location-Aware Browsing? Is Firefox tracking where I am?
- Location-Aware Browsing saves you time by allowing websites to ask you where you are. If you choose to share your location with a website, it can use that information to find nearby points of interest and return additional, useful data like maps of your area. It’s all optional – Firefox doesn’t share your location without your permission. Learn more about Location-Aware Browsing.
- Will a Firefox add-on I built for the PC work on mobile? If not, do I need to change it?
- Although Firefox for the desktop and mobile are built on the same technology platform, there are differences that will require developers to make changes to their add-ons in order to be compatible with Firefox for mobile. Visit the Mobile Developer Network and Electrolysis and Add-ons wiki to learn more.
- What browser engine does Firefox use?
- How do I develop a Location-Aware website for Firefox?
- Firefox has implemented the first public draft of the Geolocation specification from the W3C. An overview on how to develop Location-Aware websites here.
- Does Firefox on my mobile support HTML 5?
- HTML 5 is the next major revision of HTML. The HTML 5 specification is ongoing, but there are several HTML 5 and related features that will enable Web developers to create more innovative websites and applications. Firefox includes important features like Location-Aware browsing, the <canvas> and <svg> tags, Web workers and offline storage.
- Does Firefox on my phone support plugins?
- There is currently no plugin support in Firefox for Android, and plugins are disabled in Firefox for Nokia N900. On most Web pages that use the Adobe Flash plugin, the performance of the plugin on Nokia N900 didn't meet our standards, and the interactivity and performance of the entire Web page was negatively impacted. This was especially felt on pages with multiple instances of the plugin. Advanced users can enable plugins in Firefox for Nokia N900 for experimentation and testing only.
- How can I get involved?
- If you’d like to learn more about ways you can get involved in other mobile-related initiatives, check out our Get Involved page. As always, your input is welcome.
Other Resources and Links
The following resources contain useful information about Firefox for mobile: