AppsGood and EVO

Firefox 4 beta 1 now ready for HTC EVO 4G

Evo-firefox 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]
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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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13 thoughts on “Firefox 4 beta 1 now ready for HTC EVO 4G

  • Avatar of Ray Spencer

    I don’t know if this is a “newer” beta then the one that’s been out for going on a month but it’ll have to be a lot better to be worth even a second look. I removed the “earlier” beta from my phone and went back to the rock solid “Dolphin HD” as my default browser.

    Reply
  • Sounds like I’ll let this simmer in beta for a little while longer. No flash, text reflow, and slow speed make me think it isn’t worth it to try this out, when the stock browser already does those things quite well.

    Reply
  • This is likely not the proper place for this comment but G&E people are forgiving right?

    Why can’t Google make a chrome mutli-tab stock browser for our phones? Dolphin is ok but I find the interface clunky. I figure if Microsoft can finally get IE9 to look good, Google can match that on Android.

    Reply
  • Avatar of John D.

    its cool and all to have Firefox. But its pretty slow on my phone. Takes awhile to load. But i see a bright future for this.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Paladin

    I think I will wait until they address the speed, flash, text reflow and stability issues. So basically when it is out of beta! :0

    Reply
  • I think I’ll stick it out with clunky Dolphin for awhile too…

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  • 43MB for a non-game mobile app is too big. (12MB stays on internal after Apps2SD)

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  • My biggest gripe with this beta is the text rendering. Dolphin HD may have its quirks, but it’s very readable, hopefully they’ll fix that before they go live. I’d love to stick to mozilla on both desktop and mobile.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Tiradora

    I used the earlier versions and had the same crashing issues. I will hold out for the next round.

    Reply
  • Yea i was excited for the syncing with my desktop Firefox but once I used the browser on my EVO for a few minutes I was quite letdown. Not having the text reflow is a huge deal, even with the big EVO screen.

    Now that I found my Delicious bookmarks addon for Dolphin I think I will just stick with that.

    One frustration too is it seems I can’t change the default browser for the Facebook Android app. It always loads the stock HTC browser and not Dolphin.

    Reply
  • Avatar of markbo2000

    I agree with you Ray. This browser was slow, non zooming, left the page a mess. I’ll stick with the rock solid Dolphin HD browser. It is an awesome piece of software. Best mobile browser to date.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Tiradora

    UPDATE: I just put it on my phone. Works great as an option. I like that i can have more window/tabs open instead of the usual 4 or 5? I have not done the PC to Mobile Sync yet. Can’t really see a need for it yet. Most of my “Heavy duty,” Firefox usage is on my PC. Thx

    HTC Evo 2.1- not rooted

    Reply
  • Avatar of Splaktar

    Has anyone been able to get the mobile sync to work? I was able to set it up on my phone, but I don’t see any options to set it up on firefox on my desktop.

    Reply

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