Developers Brad Lassey, Alex Pakhotin, Vladimir Vukićević and Michael Wu this week unveiled what they're calling a pre-alpha version of the Fennec browser, better known as Firefox for Google's Android mobile operating system. You can download the code, which as of last week had been tested only on Motorola Droid and Nexus One.
According to a post on Vukićević's blog, developers also should heed the following additional warnings:
- It will likely not eat your phone, but bugs might cause your phone to stop responding, requiring a reboot.
- Memory usage of this build isn't great--in many ways it's a debug build, and we haven't really done a lot of optimization yet. This could cause some problems with large pages, especially on low memory devices like the Droid.
- You'll see the app exit and relaunch on first start, as well as on add-on installs; this is a quirk of our install process, and we're working to get rid of it.
- You can't open links from other apps using Fennec; we should have this for the next build.
- This build requires Android 2.0 or above, and likely an OpenGL ES 2.0 capable device.
- Edit: This build must be installed to internal memory, not to a SD card.
For alpha-user feedback, the Fennec team has created the Fennec Droid Pre-Alpha group on Google, and asks users to post comments and bug reports there. There, you also can track the latest builds, Fennec news and progress made by other developers.
The post also contains installation and troubleshooting guidance and a warning that no automated nightly developer builds or automated updates exist, and that "it's even more of a pre-nightly build (even earlier than pre-alpha). But, it's usable enough that we wanted to get some feedback on it as we continue to develop." There's even an early version of Mozilla Weave for Fennec, which allows browsers on multiple machines and devices to share bookmarks, recent tabs and browsing history, passwords and preferences securely.