After months of beta testing, Mozilla has officially launched Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo. The web browser is fast, powerful, and supports third party add-ons which extend its functionality. You can also synchronize bookmarks, passwords, and even currently open tabs between the mobile and desktop versions of Firefox using Firefox Sync.
As expected, Firefox Mobile still lacks support for Adobe Flash. But the latest version of the mobile browser does include a number of features including support for custom search engines, the ability to save pages as PDF files, and support for HTML5 standards enabling location-aware browsing, accelerometer, and device orientation detection by web pages and web apps.
I’ve been testing early versions of Firefox Mobile since last year, and it’s been exciting to see the progress developers have made. Firefox went from one of the slowest, most bloated browsers available for Android to one of the speediest in what feels like no time flat.
Unfortunately there are a few things that will likely keep me from using Firefox as my primary mobile browser for now. The first is the lack of Flash support. I don’t use Flash on a mobile device all that often, but it’s nice to have the option. The bigger problem is that Google Reader, Gmail, and other Google web services don’t play all that well with Firefox Mobile.
Instead of showing the slick HTML5-based user interface that you get with the default Android or iPhone web browsers, you get stripped down mobile apps designed for older phones without touchscreens or modern web browsers.
Firefox Mobile is available for download from the Android Market. You can also download the Android or Maemo app from Firefox.com/m.