IT Pro Verdict
Overall we were very impressed with Firefox Mobile. It has carried the secure, stable functions of the desktop across to mobile devices with hardly a hitch and we feel it currently offers the benchmark for mobile browsing. Of course, there are some small flaws but this is surely to be expected when undertaking something this ambitious. At this stage though we feel that for day-to-day usage it just can’t be beaten and with Maemo’s default browser taking care of your Flash needs, you needn’t miss out on anything you’ve become used to on your workstation. We look forward to seeing how it carries itself on other platforms and devices later in the year.
For some years now the Mozilla Foundation's Firefox browser has been something of a people's champion, wresting a huge slice of the market share from the likes of Microsoft and Apple and offering users a stable and mature alternative to proprietary software.
The open source ethos has shown itself more than suited to the dynamic environment of web development and security with exploits and flaws being patched by the community in near real-time. So when the Foundation announced the release of a mobile version of Firefox, people sat up and took notice. We've taken a look at Firefox Mobile (or Fennec as it is known) to see whether Mozilla has been successful in bringing its undoubted quality to our mobile devices.
Installing the browser on your device is a breeze, all it takes is a couple of clicks in the Ovi store (or the Mozilla website) and you're ready to explore the web.
Once we were all set up and ready we keyed in an address and were immediately struck by the fast, accurate rendering. Even content-heavy pages like IT PRO loaded quickly (under three seconds on our Wi-Fi connection) and really gave the desktop feel' to the experience. The usual Firefox accoutrements are available too, with add-ons, tabbed browsing, one-click bookmarking and the aforementioned Awesome Bar' all a mere thumb swipe away.
A thumb swipe left or right also gives users access to tabs, bookmarks and settings, allowing the small mobile screen to be dedicated almost entirely to the web page being viewed. The decision to un-clutter the display is a massive plus and when you need to control the browser the available buttons are well placed and thumb friendly. The design of the user goes some way to illustrate that intuitive isn't just a sales pitch with Mozilla. It's something users have come to expect and we aren't let down with this offering.
At this early stage the list of add-ons for Firefox Mobile isn't terribly large but it's growing daily as the user base increases. The popular names are represented though, such as Ad-block Plus' and No Script' which really enable the user to take control of the security and content of their web browser. Also available is the very useful Weave' which allows users to remotely sync their bookmarks, passwords and even their current tabs with the mobile browser saving a lot of time and hassle. As with the desktop version add-ons are painlessly installed with a single click through the browser interface.