Mozilla releases Fennec alpha for Android

Mozilla has released an early version of its mobile Firefox browser, codenamed Fennec during its development stages, for the Linux-based Android platform.In a Friday blogpost, Mozilla said the alpha version was now available for Android and for the N900, the only smartphone to use Nokia's Maemo Linux distribution for handsets.

Mozilla has released an early version of its mobile Firefox browser, codenamed Fennec during its development stages, for the Linux-based Android platform.

In a Friday blogpost, Mozilla said the alpha version was now available for Android and for the N900, the only smartphone to use Nokia's Maemo Linux distribution for handsets.

"Fennec Alpha now creates one fluid Web experience between desktop and mobile devices by providing Firefox Sync built-in into the browser, which provides seamless access to Awesome Bar browsing history, bookmarks, passwords, form-fill data and open tabs," Mozilla blogger Stuart Parmenter wrote.

According to the post, the main focus of this release is to boost the performance of mobile Firefox using two technologies called Electrolysis and Layers.

"This Alpha release includes Electrolysis, which allows the browser interface to run in a separate process from the one rendering Web content," Parmenter wrote. "By doing this, Fennec is able to react much faster to user input while pages are loading or CPU intensive JavaScript is running."

"The upcoming beta release will start taking advantage of Layers to greatly improve performance in graphic intensive actions like scrolling, zooming, animations and video. We're also working to optimise these actions using the hardware-accelerated graphics rendering capabilities showing up in today’s mobile devices."

Android and Maemo — already an ancestor of the Intel-Nokia collaboration MeeGo — are now the only platforms being addressed in earnest by Fennec. Mozilla could not fully bypass Apple's restrictive practices regarding iPhone browsers that rival Safari, so it created a workaround iPhone app called Firefox Home, which carries a Firefox user's browsing data from the desktop to the handset without technically being a browser.

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