There’s a new build of Fennec 2.0 Alpha available for Google Android, which isn’t a huge surprise since there’s a new build available pretty much every night. What is a bit surprising is just how much faster the browser feels than it used to.
Don’t get me wrong, it still takes a while to load web pages. But navigating within the browser is much faster now, and once a page is loaded, scrolling and zooming are at least as fast as in the default Android browser.
That said, there’s one major reason I won’t be keeping Fennec on my phone. While it’s certainly nice to have a browser with the same rendering engine as the desktop version of Firefox, I just don’t have room for it on my phone. Literally.
The installer file is just over 11MB, but once I loaded Fennec onto my phone, it took up over 30MB of space. I had to uninstall a few apps before I could even shoehorn it onto my Nexus One. Once I actually ran the app, it ate up more space, quickly grabbing 17MB of data. Even after moving the app to the SD card (which is a relatively new feature for Fennec), it still used up 32MB of disk space.
Hopefully Mozilla will deal with the memory issue before officially launching Firefox Mobile for Android. Or maybe by the time it’s ready to go all phones will have massive amounts of storage space anyway and this won’t be an issue.
You can check out my hands-on video with the latest version of Fennec 2.0 Alpha after the break. You can download the latest Fennec 2.0 installer file from this link if you want to take the browser for a spin yourself.