Android users have lots of choice when it comes to web browsers for the system. From Google Chrome to Firefox and dozens of third party browsers in-between, it is almost certain that you find a browser that provides you with everything that you need.
Some users are probably sticking with the same browser that they use on their desktop systems, provided they are using those, to benefit from advanced features such as data syncing.
Mozilla has started to release Firefox versions for Android about a year ago, and has improved the mobile browser ever since. What has not really changed that much is the browser interface of Firefox for Android, but that is going to change with the release of Firefox 26 for the operating system in December.
The current implementation displays top sites when you start the browser, and switches to the "Awesomescreen" when you tap on the address bar.
One major change in Firefox 26 is the merging of those two screen interfaces. What this means basically is that the browser does not switch between two different screens, but that everything is displayed on one.
The new start page displays tabs to you that you can access with a swipe to the right or left. The default tab displayed lists bookmarks, a swipe to the left opens the browsing history page, a swipe to the right the reading list.
Once you start to type you will notice that Firefox displays suggestions based on your previous browsing history. You will also get a prompt to enable Google search suggestions in the browser which adds results from Google to the suggestions list when activated.
Tip: you can add any search engine to the mobile browser by long-tapping on the search form on the search engine's website. A click on Menu >Settings > Customize > Search Settings lets you change the default search engine used in the browser.
It took three months to implement the new interface according to Mozilla. The engineers worked on a different test build of Firefox for Android during the beginning, and have integrated the final version of the new interface into the Nightly build.
You can download and install Firefox Nightly for Android on that page. Mozilla plans to iron out some "rough edges" in the coming weeks before it lands in the final version of the mobile browser. If things go as planned, it will debut when the stable version of Firefox 26 gets released in December.
Merging the two interfaces is definitely a step in the right direction as it improves the experience significantly. Instead of switching between two different interfaces regularly, you can now use a single one without losing any of the existing functionality.Advertisement
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.