If you own an Android or Maemo device, you can now grab the official Firefox 4 for Mobile browser. The official and final version was released Tuesday.
We’ve been following the evolution of this mobile browser since its pre-alpha days, when it was better known by its codename, Fennec. Since its buggy, crash-inducing beginnings, the browser has evolved into an elegant, feature-rich alternative to the native browser that current Firefox users in particular will find a joy to use.
The driving ideas of Firefox for Mobile’s UI and UX are less typing and more web. In other words, Mozilla wants the browser controls to disappear when you don’t need them. The aim is to make manual text entry a rare inconvenience, rather than the necessary task it is on most native mobile browsers.
One of the most exciting features, and one that makes total sense for desktop Firefox users, is Sync. It allows the user to carry all of his or her bookmarks, browsing history, log-in credentials and even open tabs from the desktop to the mobile device. This kind of portability, where the devices become less important and the data lives outside them, is almost futuristic and a boon to anyone who needs or desires greater mobility in life and work.
Tabbed browsing is easier with the Firefox interface; a single left-to-right swipe shows you all your open tabs in a slender column on the left side of the screen. A right-to-left swipe brings up options for one-touch bookmarking, add-on browsing and other settings.
Firefox for Mobile supports HTML5 and other web standards; Mozilla is hoping devs will embrace the browser as the perfect platform for creating, executing and marketing powerful, rich mobile web apps.
The beta version of the browser arrived in October 2010, and the release candidate was rolled out one week ago.
Mozilla made this video to show off some of the newer features of the mobile browser: