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Firefox 4 for Android Finally Arrives, But Limited

Tuesday morning Mozilla lit up Twitter with news that Firefox 4 for Android was finally available on the Android Market, and has now followed up with an official announcement over on the Mozilla Blog. The company also reports that the new mobile browser is available for Maemo which can be downloaded directly from Mozilla here.

According to Mozilla, Firefox 4 is "up to three times faster" than the stock browser on Android. The drawback is that-- surprise!-- Mozilla's flagship software isn't actually compatible with all Android devices, limited to smartphones packed with the ARMv7 processor and Android 2.0 or later installed. There are also a handful of devices that meet the hardware and software requirements, but still face major issues with the browser including Verizon's original Motorola DROID, the Samsung Galaxy S 4G, Samsung Nexus S and four other devices.

Additionally, smartphones using the ARMv6 processor cannot run Firefox 4 at all. This list of devices is incredibly long and includes the Viewsonic ViewPad 7 tablet, the HTC Legend, the HTC Droid Eris, five LG Optimus phones, three Sony Ericsson Xperia phones and many, many others. Will the overall list be narrowed down in future updates? It's highly doubtful, as the performance on the Motorola DROID hasn't really changed since the first release of Fennec.

But for users who fit the compatibility list, Firefox 4 offers tabbed browsing, bookmarks, add-ons, and Firefox Sync, the latter of which is Mozilla's cool service that links bookmarks between the desktop and mobile browsers. The UI itself is tucked away into the sides, allowing users to see nothing but internet rather than sharing the screen with a bulky interface.

"Firefox for mobile is built on the same technology platform as the desktop version," Firefox said. "With modern Web technologies like HTML5, developers can build rich, interactive applications and websites. Go to Web O’ Wonder and check out the incredible online experiences developers can now create."

To learn more about the new Firefox mobile browser, head here. As it stands now, many Android owners will be better off using the super-fast stock browser or downloading other optimized browsers from the Android Market (or even Amazon's slick Appstore) like Dolphin HD, Skyfire 3.0 and Opera Mobile.

  • deadheadbob87
    Meh, I gave this a try but the Dolphin Browser HD is better.
    Reply
  • rpmrush
    Agreed..I like Firefox on the desktop, but mobile..my fav is still Dophin Browser HD
    Reply
  • isamuelson
    Dolphin all the way and it isn't limited to ARM67 or better.

    Too bad, as I use Firefox on the desktop.
    Reply
  • fayzaan
    Interwebs alls the ways!
    Reply
  • g-thor
    28 supported devices (Firefox limited by hardware?), 51 specifically non-supported devices and 7 that can't run because of incompatibilities. I would have to say that Firefox is now running on Android - SORT OF. If they were to herald this honestly, they should be saying that Firefox now runs on nearly 50% of Android devices.

    Think I'll take the above advice and try Dolphin.

    Such a pity, as I do like Firefox on my desktop.
    Reply
  • bobusboy
    I'm unimpressed with firefox 4 so far.

    Reply
  • lol @ bobusboy

    as if anyone cares
    Reply
  • bobusboy
    lol@busboylol @ bobusboyas if anyone cares
    It was a comment, if you'd like I could elaborate about addons and webpage compatibility or a lack there of.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    If this was IE or anything Microsoft all the FF fanbois would be spitting rabid foam by now.

    They f**ked up and no amount of backpedalling will hide it.
    Reply
  • Try to use any other mobile browser in any site running the Raphael Javascript Library for vector drawing. It uses VML and SVG, parts of HTML 5. No other mobile browser, except for the Safari, supports it. And Safari support makes it slow to a crawl, while FF 4 does it brilliantly well, so I consider it the only mobile Browser supporting VML and SVG. The others are jokes.
    Reply