Firefox Mobile 1.1 beta released for Nokia N900 (if you can get it)

N900_ffb

Although it's slower than the default MicroB browser and it came in last in my mobile browser website load times tests last month, Firefox Mobile is still my browser of choice on the Nokia N900 because of its desktop features (add-ons, Weave sync, Awesome Bar, etc.) and because, well, it's Firefox. Firefox! On my N900!

I've been using version 1.0 (shown above) quite happily for the past six weeks, so when I found out today that Mozilla released 1.1 beta yesterday, I was really looking forward to taking advantage of some of the improvements. The more notable ones for me were portrait mode browsing and zooming using the volume rocker (both are already supported by MicroB), as well as auto-updating add-ons, additional context menu and site menu options, a redesigned start page, and an updated theme.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to check out any of these new features because—and this is strange—I originally grabbed version 1.0 from the Ovi Store.

I didn't know this was the reason my repeated attempts to download the beta (after uninstalling 1.0) kept redirecting to the current release as it was happening, but the first known issue listed in the release notes makes it clear to me now:

If you installed Firefox 1.0 from the Ovi Store, you will not be able to upgrade to Firefox 1.1 Beta 1 (either from the N900 Application Manager or by downloading the software from Mozilla). We are working to solve this for future releases so that anyone can participate in our Beta programs. Don't worry, though, if you got Firefox 1.0 from either the Ovi store or directly from Mozilla, you will be updated to Firefox 1.1 (final) when it is released.

This is another strike against the Ovi Store for me, which is already pretty useless on the N900.

So since it looks like I have to wait for beta 2 at the earliest or the final release at the latest to get Firefox 1.1 on my N900, I'll have to live vicariously through those of you who are able to get it now. Any users want to rub it in and sing the praises of the new beta? Have you noticed anything that isn't in the release notes? Speed boost maybe?

[Download Firefox Mobile 1.1 beta]

Update: Thanks to sipp11 in the comments, I was able to install 1.1 beta using the .deb found here. The new features are very nice, though some are a little unrefined/slow at this point. I haven't used it long enough to find any hidden treasures (did websites always load in page overview mode?), but I'd love to see text reflow at all zoom levels, more of a "snap" for the main screen when swiping left/right for the tabs and browser control (I often get "caught" between two panels), and the ability to use the directional buttons on the keyboard for scrolling/panning added in the final release.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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