The mobile version of the Firefox browser, Fennec, is now officially in beta. It works only on the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet, but developers can also download it onto their computers. The Fennec browser is designed to make maximum use of the limited screen space available on mobile phones and tries to do everything possible to minimize typing.
It incorporates the Firefox “awesome bar,” which acts as both navigation and search bar. Start typing in a URL or search term and it auto-suggests web pages based on your past Web surfing habits. Various searches, including Google, Yahoo Answers, and Wikipedia, are one click away via links at the bottom. The browser also remembers all your passwords, just like Firefox. It supports Flash. And add-ons can be created for the mobile browser.
The user interface takes some zooming and panning concepts which were previously previewed by Mozilla Labs. Each Web page expands to fill the entire screen, but moving the page to the side reveals different controls, including bookmarks, back and forward buttons, tabs, and different tools.
We’ve seen what competition has done for browsers on the PC. Today, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and IE are all trying to leapfrog one another (well, at least the first three are). Efforts like Fennec, mobile Safari for the iPhone, the Android Web browser, Opera Mini, Skyfire, and others are injecting the same healthy competition into mobile browsers. I can’t wait to be able to try out Fennec on my mobile phone (if Apple or Google let me).
Below is a video demo by Madhava Enros, who is in charge of designing the interface for Fennec.