back to article Firefox support extended to older Android mobiles

The Mozilla Foundation would like to see its Firefox browser running on more mobile phones. But since almost no handsets ship with Firefox pre-installed, that means getting the software onto more of the phones that are already out there – even if they use older hardware. Up until this Monday, the mobile version of Firefox has …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Even on supported models, however, the browser isn't guaranteed to run flawlessly.'

    Not an ideal situation and more likely to put people off.

    1. Patrick Finch

      It's a Beta

      (I work at Mozilla)

      Beta software isn't guaranteed to run flawlessly. The stable release is on ARMv7.

      1. Mark C Casey

        Re: It's a Beta

        Will someone at Mozilla please wake up and enable rendering of pages in 32bit colour instead of 16bit? (on mobile)

        Speaking as a proponent of Mozilla it's plain embarrassing. Especially when there is banding between shading in rendered CSS or images. *Every* single other web browser renders in 32bit colour. It's 2012, we shouldn't be in this situation.

        1. .thalamus

          Re: It's a Beta

          It's more about dithering than the number of bits, and it's 24 bit colour (16 million colours), not 32.

          Firefox seems to render using RGB565 on Android (16 bit) but they don't dither which is why it looks crap.

          It looks much better with dithered RGB565, so I'm not quite sure why they don't do it.

          Perhaps it is a technical limitation with some of the devices they support or their choice of minimum Android API version 8.

          1. Mark C Casey

            Re: It's a Beta

            Typo, on the colour. Was thinking of 24bit colour plus alpha channel. (24+8)

            Even with dithering in the nightlies it still looks horrible. API level 8 is Android 2.2, I'm pretty sure 2.2 supports true colour.

  2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Good heavens, is Firefox still around?

    I remember when there used to be a good, fast, compact browser of that name. Then it became a bloated, buggy, memory hogging and memory leaking nightmare whose developers were more interested in hifalutin' roadmaps for five years down the line than in actually getting the damn thing to work. That's when I switched to Chrome. Didn't everybody else?

    1. Mark C Casey

      Re: Good heavens, is Firefox still around?

      There are a few big improvements coming down the line, incremental garbage collection is one. (ever have Firefox pause briefly or become unresponsive for a short period? That's the garbage collector)

      With the new garbage collector it splits up the gc into very small chunks so you don't have noticeable pauses.

      Incremental garbage collection should be enabled by default in Firefox 16 (in a few weeks).

      Also, IonMonkey (a newer faster Javascript engine) is planned for Firefox 18 I think.

      All that said, I really wish they'd have some kind of separate process model similar to Chrome. I understand it'd break addons but even something as simple as a browser ui process and a tab/content process that contains all the web pages would be a significant improvement. (as in a website not freezing up the entire browser would be nice)

      1. Graham 32

        Re: Good heavens, is Firefox still around?

        "There are a few big improvements coming down the line, incremental garbage collection is one. (ever have Firefox pause briefly or become unresponsive for a short period? That's the garbage collector)"

        Translation for users: "We're finally going to fix that really annoying bug where FF hangs for a few seconds."

        Oh and well done on adding Flash support on Android, just as Flash stopped being available. [slowclap]

        Without sarcasm now: The latest FF on Android is actually quite nice to use, a huge leap over the previous one, but it needs to stop being some beta toy for the devs and be grown up about supporting users. (eg dropping tablet support for several months really made me feel second class. Meanwhile I started using Chrome, and still do)

    2. ukgnome

      Re: Good heavens, is Firefox still around?

      Crikey, I await your flaming. I dared to call them failfox and it was like an RAF display. I have never seen so many red arrows.

    3. Stuart 22 Silver badge

      Re: Good heavens, is Firefox still around?

      Yes I switched to Chrome too. Until that became bigger, more controlling and so I have half switched back. What we really need is a modern slimline browser like the original Chrome ...

  3. Paul Shirley

    Tried a lot of ff Android builds and none of them can manage the simple task of opening pages at a readable zoom level or focussed at the main content pane. Something every other Android browser has little trouble with.

    The useless POS even resets its zoom level with every link followed making me manually zoom over and over.

    If they can't be bothered getting a simple STANDARD usability feature implemented why bother building it at all?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Clearly double tapping on the column on a complex page that you want to snap to is far too much for you. Personally, I get more annoyed when my browser dumps me in a funny corner of a page zoomed in, so I have to zoom out to find out where I am, especially if the page is sufficiently complex that there is no obvious main pane.

      You might be an edge case, in several senses.

  4. Anonymous Coward 15
    Thumb Up

    Galaxy Ace user here, this is win.

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