Firefox 26 for Android gets a revamped interface
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
I saw Android as a chance to jump ship and try out something new. I use Dolphin. It’s a mobile-only browser, so it isn’t contaminated by any PC carryovers. I tried mobile FF, but went back to Dolphin. I found I preferred pretty much everything about it over FF.
I haven’t really given Chrome for Android much of a test. I’m starting to lean away from FF toward Chrome, so that might be the next milestone on that path. I tried Chrome went it first came out, but went back to FF because of the plugins. Now I see that Chrome is pretty mature and has pretty much caught up in the plugin department. I’m a little worried about getting sucked into the whole Google ecosystem though. I’ll have to feel my way through that. I suspect I’m deeper in than I realize.
Firefox for Android pretty much sucks because of that “Top Sites” page.
Also the inability to just go direct to the bookmarks page.
I put Cyanogen Mod on my Samsung 10″ tablet.
No Google *anything* installed by default.
I did add the “gapps” back in to test some things…
Google is so intrusive…all the apps commence to running in the background even when you haven’t activated them yet etc. etc.
I may reinstall again and go completely Google free.
Will be using Firefox again now that they seem to be attempting to fix the horrible interface design.
Never been a fan of Firefox since its rapid release crap. Chrome is very stable and fast on my Android phone. Not a big fan on my PC as yet. Still like Internet Explorer mainly because my employer requires it for their web sites. Personally I see Firefox losing ground from two sides now. One is the Chrome browser and the other is from a more robust and usable Internet Explorer. What I think will happen with Firefox is it will become a niche browser for the extension hounds and pretty much that will be its user base.
Maxthon is pretty decent on Nexus 7.
Hope to see Firegestures for Firefox there someday… wishful thinking?
Until Mozilla fixes the moronic tabs design on Firefox-android the browser shall remain white.