Mozilla previews a redesigned and faster Firefox for Android

Mozilla today announced the first preview of a redesigned version of Firefox for Android that promises to be up to two times faster. The new version also introduces an easier to use and rather minimalist user interface, as well as support for collections, Mozilla’s new take on bookmarks. The new browser also features Firefox’s tracking protection, which is on by default. Over time, this preview will become the default Firefox for Android .

A few years ago, with Quantum, the Firefox team make a number of under-the-hood improvements to the browser’s core backend technologies. Now, it is doing something similar with GeckoView, Mozilla’s browser engine for Android. Implementing the technology the team developed for this in the browser now “paves the way for a complete makeover of the mobile Firefox experience,” the organization writes in today’s announcement.

“While all other major Android browsers today are based on Blink and therefore reflective of Google’s decisions about mobile, Firefox’s GeckoView engine ensures us and our users independence,” says the Firefox team. “Building Firefox for Android on GeckoView also results in greater flexibility in terms of the types of privacy and security features we can offer our mobile users.”

An early version of Firefox with GeckoView is now available for testing on Android under the Firefox Preview moniker. Mozilla notes that the user experience will sill change quite a bit before it is final.

Screenshot 20190627 081245When you first launch it, Preview opens up a new default experience that lets you sign in to a Firefox account, decide on whether you want a light or dark theme (or have the system switch automatically depending on the time of day), turn on privacy features and more.

One feature I really appreciate is that, by default, the preview puts the URL bar at the bottom of the screen, so that it’s within easy reach of your thumb. If you swipe up on the URL bar, you get both a share and bookmark icon, too. That takes some getting used to but quickly becomes second nature.

I haven’t run any formal benchmarks, but the preview definitely feels significantly snappier and smoother than any previews Firefox version on Android, up to the point where I wouldn’t hesitate to make it my default browser on mobile, especially given its built-in privacy features. I haven’t run into any hard crashes so far either, but this is obviously a beta version, so your mileage may vary.

For the rest of the year, the team will focus on optimizing the preview for all Android devices, but for now, it’s already worth a look if you’re looking to play with a new mobile browser on your Android device and not afraid of the occasional bug.

image004


Android – TechCrunch

Google Drive Apps Get Sharing Notifications, Access Requests And Previews

group_sharing Google Drive for iOS and Android has becoming pretty important for me. Whether I’m taking notes or writing up a post, I’ve used it to share my docs with colleagues from the road. Today, the team announced a few new features to help speed up sharing and collaboration, which if you’re not on your desktop can seem slow at times. Yeah, Google Drive sends share requests and… Read More
TechCrunch » Android

Oculus Previews “Oculus Touch” Handheld Motion-Tracking Haptic Controllers

Oculus Touch Oculus wants to go beyond the Xbox One controller shipping with the Rift, so today it showed off the prototype of Oculus Touch, a set of handheld motion controllers that let you see your hands in virtual reality. Known as the “Half Moon” prototype, they’ll let you pick up objects, fire a gun, or point at things. They include integrated inertial and 360-degree movement… Read More

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Curious About Apple Watch Apps? WatchAware Provides Interactive Previews

apple-watch-gif Apple’s first wearable is right around the corner, and the Apple Watch will likely debut along a very healthy selection of third-party apps. It might be hard to envision just how those apps will work, however, especially for potential buyers who don’t have the luxury of being able to wander over to an Apple Store and check one out in person. WatchAware, a new site from the… Read More

TechCrunch » Gadgets