Fennec – M9 (User Experience Alpha)

Fennec (Mobile Firefox) has reached milestone 9, which is also our first alpha! We’re calling this release the User Experience alpha. The last eight milestones were building up to getting a stable browser with an easy to use interface. We really want to get Fennec in front of as many people as possible and get feedback.

As with the previous milestones, M9 is targeted at the Nokia N800/N810 (Maemo) Internet tablet. Yes, we have made great progress on Windows Mobile, but no milestone releases yet. However, in addition to the native Maemo release, we are also releasing desktop versions of Fennec. That’s right, you can install Fennec on your Windows, OS X or Linux desktop too! We want you to be able to experiment, provide feedback, write add-ons and generally get involved with the Mozilla Mobile project, even if you don’t have a device.

The release notes have information on a quick start, how to install, what’s new, known issues and how to provide feedback. So if you’re interested in getting involved with Mozilla Mobile, install Fennec and tell us what you think.

Update: Madhava Enros, UX lead for Fennec, posted a video walk through of the application. Check it out.

Update: We noticed that the desktop builds had the mouse cursor turned off. This is good for touchscreen devices, but bad for desktop applications. We flipped a preference and updated the desktop builds. If you downloaded a desktop build and have the cursor problem, just download the build again, it’s been fixed.

74 thoughts on “Fennec – M9 (User Experience Alpha)

  1. It’s great to see Firefox coming out for mobile platforms, but being brutally honest, if it’s not out on Symbian then it might as well not exist. Symbian’s got two thirds of the smartphone market worldwide and Opera’s out on Symbian.

  2. So you’ve got a version of your _mobile_ browser for OSX, but not for Windows _Mobile_? Gee, I guess that makes sense…

  3. Can somebody provide an “Openmoko-runnable” version, please ? My Neo FreeRunner is waiting for a real good mobile webbrowser…

  4. Too bad there isn’t a build for Nintendo DS…. their browser sucked but there is plenty of people trying to write a better one. Fennic might be a better choice.

  5. I just tried it with the remote-XUL application I’m currently developing. The basic app loads and works, but there are a few problems I’m experiencing:

    * I think the URL bar should be smaller – or at least provide an option for a smaller version. It takes up a lot of screen real estate unnecessarily.

    * My XUL menus are all disabled.

    * Almost all my input fields are custom widgets using XBL to provide extra functionality via popup panels – none of the popups work.

    I know that remote-XUL is likely to be way down on the list of priorities for Fennec, so I won’t hold my breath, but it’s so tantalisingly close to working.

  6. Another very good reason to use Fennec on desktops: its lower hardware requirements than Firefox will make Fennec a browser of choice for older computer.
    Couldn’t Fennec become the default browser of fast low-memory linux distributions like xubuntu?

  7. Did a little test translation into Afrikaans. Only need to translate 1000 words, 80% is already done if you have a translate Firefox.

    This picture shows some issues from a localisation point of view:

    You cannot translate the writing on the splash screen, its a PNG file. Didn’t spend much time seeing if I could find the source file. Either we need to drop the text or work our how to give an SVG for the translator to translate.

    The direction text is longer in Afrikaans so the grey bar at the bottom looks odd. It should resize. I think on the mobile platform we might for the first time have to think about limiting size of strings in the target language.

    Its been nice playing with this, well done guys.

  8. If this were available for iPhone with native UI/look/feel I would probably use it over Mobile Safari.

    Resizing looks horrible until you reload the page. Not a problem on a mobile device where you won’t be resizing, except if you want to switch from horizontal to vertical orientation.

  9. @ CalcProgrammer1

    Regarding “Second, the panels are way huge…why? The address bar is twice the height of regular desktop Firefox. Mobile is about reducing size to fit screens better, not cluttering them even more with giant sized icons.”

    On a small high-res screen, the address bar is what will seem like a much more reasonable size, with a height more or less dictated by the size of a tapping fingertip. 800×480 pixels is much larger on a desktop or laptop screen.

  10. Just few notes – the UI performance on N810 is just horribly slow and pretty much unusable. The innovations on the UI turn into usability hindrances with this level of end user performance. I am talking about the tabs and the control buttons what you get when swiping left/right.

    Running Fennec on N800 is less than optimal experience due to lack of HW keypad on the N800 device itself. This is an oversight on Mozilla’s design part and in the future I hope to see support for virtual on-screen keyboards to be better than currently.

Comments are closed.