GLOBAL – The much anticipated Firefox Mobile, AKA Fennec, has had its first beta release on the Nokia N810. And boy is it something. Packing plenty of familiar Firefox functionality, Fennec is already impressive, even though it’s only at beta 1. This release is designed for testing purposes only, according to the Mozilla site, and aims to get wider feedback on the user experience, get developer feedback and encourage existing add-on developers to port existing Firefox add-ons to Fennec – yep, Fennec supports add-ons.
Any regular Firefox user is well aware of the benefits of Firefox, but for those who aren’t, add-ons extend the functionality of Firefox and is particularly useful for web development (we test the mobile version of Conversations using the Firefox user-agent add on).
That’s only one part of the Fennec story though. The Smart URL Bar “awesome bar” is present on Fennec and there’s also touch screen support. Screen real estate is treated like gold and for the most part as much space as possible is given over to the actual webpage being viewed. This doesn’t mean all your regular tools aren’t available, a simple swipe left or right will show up the most popular tools such as forward and back buttons, bookmark buttons and other regular Firefox tools.
One of the first add-ons available for Fennec adds gesture support to the browser. Rather than reaching for either of the sidebar tools, users can simply use gestures to bring the tools up on screen, or create the action itself such as drawing an x to close a tab or an outline of a house to go to your homepage.
Madhava Enros gives an excellent walk through of the key features below, whilst Felipe takes us through the gesture support in the second video. If you’re an N810 user, make sure you let us know your views in the comments below.
Madhava Enros introduces the Fennec interface
Fennec Beta 1 walkthrough from Madhava Enros on Vimeo.
Gestures video with Felipe
Fennec Gestures and Chromeless browsing from Felipe on Vimeo.