The Mozilla Corporation, developers of the popular Firefox browser, had some good news for Maemo users last week with the final release of Firefox for Mobile for devices like the Nokia N810 internet tablet and N900 smartphone. Previously known by its codename Fennec during development, the new browser is noteworthy for bringing a great deal of the features, customization, and performance of the full version of Firefox to non-PC MID and smartphone class devices, while being completely redesigned for small screens and touch screen interaction gestures.
Some of the major new features include the use of the same Gecko (1.9.2) rendering engine as the recently released Firefox 3.6, Weave Sync (which provides the ability to synchronize tabs, bookmarks, and history between your desktop and mobile device), and support for add-ons just like its PC counterpart, with more than 40 available now and counting. The new browser also includes tabbed browsing, the "awesome bar," password management, and location aware browsing.
jkOnTheRun has a great first impression of the new mobile Firefox, with highlights being the design, functionality, and the fact that it brings a desktop browsing experience to a mobile device. Ironically, Maemo users have already been enjoying such an experience with Maemo's inbuilt MicroB browser also based on Mozilla's Gecko engine.
At this point, MicroB still seems to have the edge in overall performance and the substantial advantage of Flash support, while Firefox for Mobile has more new features, add-ons, and Weave Sync. But the new browser is still in its infancy and has a lot of potential for continued development and further improvements. For those of us who don't use Maemo-based devices, we can look forward to the release of Firefox for Mobile on the Windows Mobile and Android platforms later this year.