Firefox's Android play

Firefox 4 for Mobile now in beta form for Android devices

Firefox's Android play

Firefox, the second most popular web browser, just upped the stakes significantly for its competitors with the release of a beta version of its browser for Android.

The mobile version of Firefox was originally only available for the Nokia’s Maemo platform which is not in widespread use. Now there is a version for Android, the rapidly growing mobile OS from Google.

The Mozilla Foundation says that the mobile Firefox is built on the same technology as the desktop version, meaning that it will include many of the same features. This is the big promise of Firefox mobile. Firefox has an extensive compendium of add-ons which will in all likelihood be migrated across to the mobile version with minimal programming. Many Firefox users stick with the browser because of one or another add-on that adds a feature they need. This could translate into a rapidly growing market as users stick with what they know when using their phone.

Also, one of the big features of Firefox 4 on both mobile and desktop versions is Firefox sync, which synchronises bookmarks, preferences and other personal data between versions of the browser. With this included in Firefox 4 for mobile it means that users will be able to access all of this information on their phone as well as on the desktop, another compelling reason for users to stick with Firefox.

The latest beta release of Firefox for mobile also includes features such as pinch-to-zoom, which is available on multi-touch device. The so-called “Awesome Screen” is a single place to access information such as recent history, bookmarks and tabs.

Firefox 4, for both desktop and mobile, also includes support for many of the features of HTML5, the new standard in web development.

The beta version of Firefox 4 for mobile can be downloaded from Mozilla’s mobile site.

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