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20 October 2008, 11:06

Mozilla releases Fennec, a Firefox for mobile devices

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Fennec, running on Mac OS X. The thumbnails are actually tabbed browsing windows.
Zoom Fennec, running on Mac OS X. The thumbnails are actually tabbed browsing windows.
Fennec is's new mobile browser and Mozilla have released an early alpha to download. Fennec, named after the desert fox, the smallest of the wild fox family, has been released at this early stage to get wider feedback about the user interface and input from web site developers. To ensure that wider audience, Mozilla have released versions of Fennec for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux as well as for the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. A version for Windows Mobile 6.1 is in development too.

Development so far has mainly concentrated on the user interface, in order to support touch-sensitive and small screens and phone functions. Like Safari on the iPhone, Fennec can identify telephone numbers on a web page, allowing the user to quickly select and call numbers. The controls slide in from the left and right to maximize the display space for the web pages, with a set of graphical snapshots of open pages acting as tabs. Fennec also supports Geolocation in line with recent betas of Firefox, using the proposed W3C Geo-location standard; Geolocation allows web developers to create location sensitive web sites.

Future releases plan to focus on performance are planned, such as the integration of the TraceMonkey just-in-time compiling JavaScript engine and the speculative parsing of web pages. Fennec's release notes detail the currently implemented functionality, gives links to download the alpha for all four current platforms and directs users to the discussion groups and bug reporting mechanism for the alpha.


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