The real alpha version of Mobile Firefox (Fennec) is now available for download and installation on the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. It popped up in my Application Manager as an update last night, but it was actually out since Wednesday if you knew where to look (thanks, jason). This is only a pre-beta release intended for testing purposes so there are obviously kinks to work out, but so far it’s looking really good.
Fennec opens on top of the default web browser, so clicking the icon will only bring up the "Fennec – loading" window I showed you a few days ago. After the window disappears, though, all you have to do is open the regular browser.
You’ll see your standard home page first, but Fennec will appear a few seconds later. The welcome page includes brief instructions on how to use the browser: "drag this way [right] for your tabs" and "drag this way [left] for controls."
The dragging action isn’t as fluid as, say, a swipe on the iPhone, but it works and is an intuitive way to maximize the screen area and not waste any space on the interface.
A left swipe on the screen brings up a simple set of controls: bookmark (the star), back, forward, and settings (not shown above). Bookmark folders aren’t implemented yet, but access to bookmarks is handled nicely. Just tap the open book icon at the top and a translucent overlay with all of your bookmarks appears. This is much better than having to tap through various levels of menu items.
Tapping the settings button at the bottom of the control bar brings up three options: add-ons (puzzle piece icon), downloads (down arrow icon), and actual settings (EQ-looking icon). The humorous descriptions of what each content and privacy/security setting does are a nice touch. My favorite is "Enable Plugins: Makes websites annoying."
Plug-ins are disabled in this release. I couldn’t get any extensions or themes either, so I’m assuming the entire add-on area isn’t ready for consumption yet.
Full-screen mode (bottom photo above) is definitely the best way to use the browser. Pages load slowly and sometimes cause the interface to become unresponsive, but they render well.
Very promising, wouldn’t you say?[Fennec alpha (thanks, lammy)]