Mozilla has been offering mobile versions of the Firefox web browser for Android since earlier this year, but up until recently the browser was built using Mozilla’s own tools rather than native Android UI widgets. This week the developers released the first nightly builds of Firefox which use native Android tools to reduce memory usage and improve speed.

You can download the latest builds from the Firefox Nightly site. Keep in mind, these are pre-release versions of the browser, and may be rather buggy compared with the latest stable release available from the Android Market. But the latest nightlies will give you an idea of where Mozilla is going with Firefox.

The new browser does away with the menus to the left and right side of the screen. Instead you can pull up preferences, the add-ons manager, or bookmarks by tapping your Android menu button. You can open new tabs and access a list of open browser tabs by tapping the plus button next to the URL bar.

The new version is designed to support existing plugins for Firefox mobile and supports Android 2.2 and up.  Soon Mozilla will add an improved start page as well as the ability to synchronize your data between browsers. A tablet-friendly version is also in the works.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...