Android Firefox hits beta, includes Flash support

After months of development, the overhauled Firefox browser for Android, and its new native Android interface, has graduated to beta stage.

Firefox Android beta

(Credit: Mozilla)

Mozilla updated Firefox for Android beta today, with an interface and underlying code that has been in development since the end of 2011.

The new beta's features are nearly the same as those in the current stable build of Firefox for Android, except that the browser now supports Adobe Flash. That's a notable difference from Google's Chrome for Android beta and the default Android browser, although Firefox isn't the only Android browser to play Flash content on websites.

However, the changes in this beta go beyond a new interface and Flash support. The browser loads pages significantly faster than before; the landing screen when you launch the browser is new; and text zooming is smoother. Searches via Google are now performed in the safer HTTPS, and developers can begin using the Pointer Lock application programming interface (API) and a new API that prevents the screen from sleeping.

As befits a beta, the browser does have some noticeable flaws. These include problems with syncing for people who have more than one Firefox channel installed on a single Android device; language support is limited to English; and several problems with the Flash implementation. The struggles with Flash include problems in full-screen mode, and a lack of support for a Tegra 2 processor running Gingerbread.

The new beta works on Android 2.2 Froyo, up through to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.


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