Mozilla's Firefox Fenix: New Android browser rethinks tabs and sessions

Mozilla developers look to differentiate Firefox on Android with more session control.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Mozilla's under-development Android browser, 'Fenix', could give users a new way of using tabs on mobile devices across multiple sessions. 

Firefox will likely never recover its market share lost to Chrome on the desktop, but Mozilla's mobile browser is still popular on Android, with 100 million-plus downloads from the Google Play Store. 

The Mozilla-made Android browser hasn't received much attention of late besides regular security fixes but that's because Mozilla developers have been brewing a new browser built on its own Android Components set of libraries and the GeckoView renderer, its alternative to Android's WebView.    

According to Ghacks, Mozilla is planning to overhaul Firefox tabbing in the Fenix release in a way that makes it stand apart from Chrome and could be useful to Firefox users. 

While both mobile browsers feature tabbed browsing, Firefox Fenix will open tabs in individual sessions automatically and suppress the tabs after the user exits a session, if the user chooses. 

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Basically, this means that when a user relaunches the browser, the tabs from a previous session no longer appear. However, a handy feature for users is that they can save sessions manually. 

These are minute changes but ones that may make more sense in the context of mobile devices compared with desktop browsing, where shortcuts to old tabs across sessions can be helpful. 

The future Firefox for mobile will also let users delete sessions when they don't need them anymore or keep individual sessions if they think they will need them in future. 

Mozilla is also planning to enable users to share sessions, allowing users to send a profile of a current session through Android Share or Firefox Sync, the synchronization service available to Firefox users who sign in with a Firefox Account.

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