Firefox 4 comes to Android and Maemo

The first full version of Mozilla's mobile browser for Google's platform is now available to download and is up to three times faster than the native Android browser, Mozilla has said

Mozilla announced on Tuesday that the full release version of its mobile Firefox browser for Android and Maemo devices is now available to download.

The launch — which follows the issuing of the release candidate on 24 March — brings features such as the 'awesome bar', Firefox Sync and one-touch bookmarking to handsets.

Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo includes a 'save to PDF option' that allows users to capture important websites, such as booking confirmation screens, for offline viewing. It also incorporates sharing features that allow users to share web pages via email or to post them on Twitter, Facebook and other web services.

The browser also supports add-ons, but Mozilla notes on its 'known issues' page that it does not support the Flash plug-in. "Currently, enabling the Flash plug-in results in a compromised user experience across Firefox for mobile," the company said.

The release does bring support for some HTML 5 features such as location-aware browsing, device orientation, accelerometer usage and desktop notifications, Mozilla said in a blog post.

Mozilla also said Firefox 4 for Android is "up to three times faster" than the stock Android browser and incorporates a significantly improved JavaScript engine that includes improvements to the TraceMonkey just-in-time (JIT) compiler and the SpiderMonkey interpreter. These improvements result in faster page-load speeds and generally better performance of web apps and games, Mozilla said.

Firefox for Android is available to download now from the Android Market, or from for Maemo devices.

Opera browsers

On 22 March, Firefox rival Opera launched new versions of its Opera Mini and Opera Mobile web browsers. Opera Mini 6 features a redesigned UI tailored for tablets, pinch-to-zoom support, sharing features and YouTube support. It also fixes a number of known bugs.

Like Firefox, the fully-featured Opera Mobile 11 browser — available for Android and Symbian devices — features an overhauled rendering engine and JIT compiler for improved overall performance, Opera said.

It also features haptic feedback, HTML 5 audio and video, geolocation, a session-restore option and sharing to social networks from directly within the browser. Symbian handset owners can download it from, while the Android version is available now in the Android Market.

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