Firefox for Mobile: What’s New in Mobile Aurora 7?

The latest Firefox Mobile Aurora 7 release has many of the same great features as Firefox Desktop Aurora 7. The new memory optimizations make running Firefox on Android much more pleasant, with fewer browser session restarts.

There are also a few mobile specific changes:

  • Text selection in web content: Long tap in a web page and start selection text using the familiar Android-style drag handles. Since Firefox does not use Android widgets, we had to implement this feature ourselves and there is still some additional work to do in order to make it more robust.
  • Session history within a tab is saved and restored: If Firefox needs to restore the session, each tab’s back/forward history is restored as well.
  • Language selection at initial startup: Choose you language right away, instead of wading through screens in a language you might not be able to read. If the Android OS is set to a language Firefox has bundled, the selection screen is skipped and you are taken to the Firefox Home page. If you really wanted to pick a different language, there is a “Choose Language” button on Firefox Home too, but only on the initial startup.
  • Added a ‘Quit’ action to the Android menu: This was a frequent feature request and low risk to the UI so we added it.
  • Text selection in action:


    Quit menu:


    Of course, Mobile Aurora 7 also has the features and optimizations found in the upcoming Firefox for Mobile 6 Beta release. Things like startup and painting speedups, Gingerbread theme, Android menu improvements and more. We’ll post more details about Firefox for Mobile 6 Beta soon.

    Mobile Aurora 7 is not in the Android Market. We are considering publishing it along with the Beta and Final releases. Until then, install the latest Mobile Aurora from this download page.

9 Comments

  1. Cameron McCormack said,

    July 7, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

    Great to see text selection supported now. Will there be a way to emulate the native look of the text selection handles, and the menu that pops up with [Select word/Select all/Paste/Clipboard] options?

  2. Mark Finkle said,

    July 7, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

    @Cameron: What native loo do you see? The current look matches what we see in Gingerbread. Also, what menu do you see after the text is selected?

  3. Fernando Cassia said,

    July 8, 2011 @ 12:11 am

    Mozilla lost an awful lot of time by its strategical mistake of begining Mozilla Minimo for the Windows Mobile platform.

    http://www-archive.mozilla.org/projects/minimo/

    In the meantime, if they had released Minimo for PalmOS, today we would have Firefox for Mobile as the standard browser for HP´s WebOS…

    Sad to see challengers to Microsoft bite the bullet and lose time supporting a Microsoft´s technologies…

    FC

  4. emmanuel said,

    July 8, 2011 @ 1:43 am

    i think adding the quit button is too bad. android developers have said many times that they’d rather it’s not done, it’s just not the right way to do it on android.

  5. zob said,

    July 8, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    Im on 8.0a now (following nightly) and I must say things are getting better.
    On 8 there seems to be a new text rendering that is much better looking and not slow either. That’s cool. Not sure if it’s in 7.0 as well.

    Features that should be required but are still missing:
    - Master password (/w encrypted data on disk). I would like to save my passwords and use Sync – but since the data is not encrypted I won’t. Losing a phone is too easy..
    - Flash support. I suppose this might actually be up to Adobe, but they should be pushed to do so or a wrapper for “chrome” plugins should probably be made.

    Performance issues:
    Not so many in fact, but then again I have a S2. Loading time is surprisingly decent (its not instant but its slightly faster than Opera). Instant would be good if the loading could be deferred after the main UI is loaded, although I’m not sure that’s possible with XUL.
    GPU accelerated UI would be nice.
    WebGL is surprisingly slow although its the only mobile browser where it works.
    Firefly demo of IE 10 testdrive crashes FF’s tab (reported)

    Other issues:
    The auto reformat of the text only works on double tap (non-intuitive, no one knows how it works!) and does not reformat as nicely as, say, Opera mobile.
    Not-your-fault: adblock+ needs polish, can’t always select options etc on the small screen. Most used add-on so needs some love.

    Ideas:
    The URL bar could be squared and use the complete screen space instead of being rounded.
    The URL bar should use various suggestion services, or at least Google suggest, this speeds up typing significantly specially on mobile…

    Praise:
    It renders almost everything like desktop (well, that’s normal, i know) but that’s much better than others.
    Progress has been rather quick and noticeable over the weeks, congrats! I hope you guys keep going that way.
    Electrolysis actually works well since a few releases. It seems the network issues have been solved. I was mostly against it for technical reasons, but what the hell. I want it on the desktop, now.

  6. MrS said,

    July 8, 2011 @ 8:42 am

    Great work! Any idea when plugins (i.e. Flash) are targeted? That’s the only thing keeping me from using Fennec as my default browser.

  7. Jeremy said,

    July 10, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

    I am SO glad you finally got text selection working! Though, it does seem a tad over zealous at times selecting stuff that I don’t mean to and copying random bits of text to my clipboard.

  8. chraso said,

    July 19, 2011 @ 8:08 am

    can u please port it for arm6 devices?

  9. Luke in DC said,

    August 12, 2011 @ 9:26 am

    I’ve noticed that the Google mobile website doesn’t render properly in Firefox Mobile. (http://www.google.com/m). I would really love a way to tell the website that I’m on a mobile device not a desktop.

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