Firefox Mobile has been getting better with each release, but the latest version is still technically just a “release candidate.” Now Computer World reports that Mozilla plans to launch the full version of Firefox Mobile within the next few days. There may be a few bug fixes included, but essentially it will be the same app as the release candidate which has been available from the Android Market since last week. And that means that like all earlier builds of Firefox Mobile there will be one thing missing: support for Adobe Flash.
Early builds of Firefox Mobile were sluggish, bloated, and crash-prone. All that has changed recently, and I would seriously consider using Firefox Mobile as my primary Android browser today if it weren’t for the lack of Flash.
The browser now renders pages quickly, flips between menus just as quickly, and there’s barely any lag when you zoom in and out of pages. There’s also support for an ever-growing library of third party add-ons which extend the capabilities of the browser.
But while other browsers including the default Android browser, Dolphin HD, and Opera Mobile can handle Flash video, games, and other content with the Adobe Flash plugin available from the Android Market, Firefox Mobile cannot. Odds are the browser, which uses a completely different rendering engine than most other mobile browsers, can’t just use the version of Flash Adobe has already released, which means that Mozilla and Adobe would likely have to develop an entirely new plugin.
Until then, surfing the web with Firefox Mobile is a bit like using the Safari browser on an iPhone, you know, if Safari supported plugins and synchronization of your bookmarks, passwords, and other data with a desktop browser.
Opera also has its own rendering engine and they have integrated with the Flash plug-in. And it is way faster and smoother than both Firefox and the stock browser. Version 11 which launched last week was a huge upgrade.
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