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31 August 2010, 14:23

Mozilla releases Fennec 2.0 Alpha 1 for Android & Nokia N900

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Fennec Logo The Mozilla mobile project developers have announced the arrival of the first alpha for version 2.0 of Firefox for Mobile, also known as " Fennec", for the Nokia N900 and various Android devices. The latest mobile versions of Firefox are built on the same browser engine as Firefox 4.0, version 2.0 of the Gecko rendering platform, and include several elements from their desktop counterpart, such as built-in support for Firefox Sync, add-ons and the "Awesome Bar" smart URL bar.

According to Mozilla's Director of Mobile Stuart Parmenter, the main focus of the Fennec Alpha release is "to increase performance and responsiveness to user actions". The developers are implementing this using two major technologies called “Electrolysis” and “Layers”. Electrolysis allows the browser interface to run in a separate process from the one that's rendering Web content, letting the browser to react to user input more quickly when also loading web pages. Parmenter says that a future beta release will start to take advantage of Layers, "greatly improve performance in graphic intensive actions like scrolling, zooming, animations and video". Other changes include ARM processor optimisations, TraceMonkey JavaScript engine improvements and support for several HTML5 technologies such as web workers, offline storage and location-aware browsing.

Fennec for Android requires version 2.0 of Android or later. A list of supported devices is available on the Mozilla Wiki. Users testing the release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they encounter.

More details about the release, including a demo video, can be found in the official release announcement and in the release notes. Users can download Fennec by visiting from their Nokia N900 or Android device. The release notes also list downloadable versions of Firefox for Mobile on Windows, Mac OS X or Linux which allow users to evaluate the browser without using an Android device or a Nokia N900.

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