The beta 1 release of the Firefox 4 web browser for Android hit the internet yesterday, which of course means your HTC EVO 4G can get in on the action. It's not available in the Market, so visit firefox.com/m/beta on your EVO to download and install it.
The browser is based on the desktop version of Firefox, so it's very robust, even in beta form. Highlights include the Awesome Bar and Screen, add-ons, Firefox Sync, pinch-to-zoom and double-tap zooming, personalized start page, and a clean UI that keeps tabs, navigation controls, and other tools "hidden" until you swipe them into view. Speed and responsiveness have both been improved from the alpha version of the app, thanks to Layers and Electrolysis technologies.
But before you kick the EVO's stock browser, Dolphin HD, Skyfire, Opera Mini, or whatever other web browser you're using to the curb, there are some things you should know about Firefox 4 beta 1.
Size. Mozilla has plans to cut its size in half at some point, but beta 1 is about 40MB. It can be moved to the EVO's SD card, though, so it's not really an issue unless you're running low on space on that too.
No Flash or plug-ins. Support will come eventually, but it's not there yet.
No text reflow after zooming. This can render the ability to zoom into text pretty useless since you have to pan left/right to read a full sentence. Fortunately, there's an add-on called Easy Reading that fixes this to some extent.
Speed. Although the browser is faster than it used to be, it still isn't up to snuff in my opinion. Pages render more slowly than in other browsers, especially after zooming.
Stability. Your experience may vary, but Firefox 4 beta 1 crashed on me within the first 5 minutes and then once more when I re-launched it.
In other words, it's a mixed bag right now.
I've had an earlier version of Firefox on my Nokia N900 for months, so I'm kind of immune to the UI and all the desktop features of the mobile browser. I was pretty wowed the first time I used it, though, so if this will be the first time you've ever used Firefox on a mobile device, then you're in for a treat.
In the meantime, I'm sticking with the stock browser on my EVO.[Mozilla Blog]