Share this Story

Fennec on Android Using Your Feedback

A new developer has joined in on the quest to bring Firefox to Android and he’s put together a list of features that they plan to attack in future builds.  Actually, he sort of polled users on Twitter to get their thoughts on that pre-alpha build we saw a week or so ago and then placed them in order of importance. Here are a few of the highlights…

Plans for multi-touch…

Zoom and multi-touch: Pinch zoom gestures are coming! We are reviewing a patch for animated multi-touch (pinch) zooming on Qt-based devices, and testing similar code on Android. (Maemo devices have no multi-touch, so we use their volume buttons to zoom. That code hasn’t been ported to Android, so only double-tap zoom was working in the preview build.)

We also had some requests to fit text to the screen when zoomed in, like the Android browser. Today Brad Lassey and Ben Stover released the Easy Reading add-on that does exactly that. We might make this a built-in option in Fennec once it is fast and reliable enough.

On the size of the app…

Size: A ten megabyte download (over 30 MB installed) is not huge for a desktop browser, but it’s hefty for a mobile app – especially on Android, where apps are saved to limited onboard memory.

Shrinking Fennec is possible, but not trivial. Some of the library and toolkit code in our build is probably unused and could be removed. And we could try minifying our Java­Script source, like many websites do. Michael Wu hopes current efforts like Omnijar and Thumb-2 (bug 563751) will cut the installed size approximately in half.

Those lovely Firefox add-ons…

Add-ons: We’re just starting Fennec 1.1 beta testing, and most of our add-ons are not yet updated for version 1.1. Unfortunately, this meant that many add-ons were not available to our first Android previewers. This should be fixed over the next few weeks.

On Flash support…

Flash: The Flash plugin is not yet included in our Android builds, but it will be supported eventually. Firefox for Maemo already works with Flash, although enabling it does cause performance problems on some sites. (We are working on fixing that with major changes to our graphics code.)

Overall, I’m liking the addition of another developer.  Nothing says, “Let’s make this happen!” than by adding another mind to the cause.  There are also talks of releasing nightly builds which we’ll definitely be looking forward to.

Source: Matt Brubeck

  • Oh this topic… I do not know about Fennec … Skyfire is pretty awesome, but will use Fennec, if better after release. Pre-alpha was bad Nice to visit your site. Wish you post another good topic like this. I will wait to read it.

  • WhereIsTony

    it just feels more intuitive, and it is quicker to zoom back out, plus if you overshoot you just unpinch to get it right

  • Jeffrey Mills

    I don't know about this app. It takes up 10 mb on my droid. that is alot.

  • aarynk

    I don't know about Fennec… Skyfire is pretty awesome but would use Fennec if better once released. The pre-alpha was bad

  • Anyone get this to work on Eris? If so do you mind sharing the apk?

  • synergy

    I just don't get the obsession with the so-called “pinch & zoom” I find it faster to just tap tap tap to where I want to be.

    • Yep same here especially if u only wanna use 1 hand then u have to get ur other hand just to zoom in

    • WhereIsTony

      it just feels more intuitive, and it is quicker to zoom back out, plus if you overshoot you just unpinch to get it right

  • 1xiii3

    ive been waiting for fennec since it was going to be released for nokia back like 2 yrs or so ago ….hell i even downloaded the demo for u to use on the computer….. i want this so bad it looks like it could be the browser of all browsers… atleast for the android cause i think dolphin is stupid…. an im sure it will be free cause well it comes from mozilla….

  • Nölff, esq.

    I'm ready for it to blow the rest of the browsers out of the market. I hope it sets the bar high.

  • Pimpin. 🙂

  • kulz

    we love being heard! 😉

    • power to da ppl, not S.Jobs (and hiz fruity company)

  • maizekidstill

    Fingers crossed for beta release