Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Firefox Mobile- The Good and the Ugly

As the second most used browser on Earth, it was just a matter of time before the fox got into the mobile arena. For me, there were only two mobile browsers out there, Opera and the rest.

With Firefox mobile, I can gladly say there are now three. For some weird reason though, the things that drove me from switching to Chrome on my desktop are the same factors that are peventing me from using Firefox mobile as the default browser on my handset.

The good things I like about Firefox mobile are the sync feature that gives you access to all of your bookmarks, history, open tabs, saved passwords and form data. Then the tabbed browsing style as you have on the desktop. The default browser, MicroB, acts more like Chrome by treating every tab as a separate process and thus gives it a separate window.

Firefox mobile is also the first mobile browser to support addons. There's a handy collection of really cool ones already available. Then finally, it really does render pages just like they were designed.

But Firefox Mobile is far from being what I really expected it to be. The first thing one notes about Firefox mobile is that it's agonizingly slow to start up. Tapping both Firefox and MicroB at the same time, the latter starts up almost instantaneously while Firefox sits there, wondering what to do with your command.

Then when it comes to system resources, Firefox just loves to have everything to itself. The moment it starts running, my memory and cpu monitors spike into the red. It also has the tendency to rather unsually cause a complete system freeze.

These three observations are rather deal breakers considering the fact that it is meant to be a run on mobile devices, and thus it does not really auger well to have users endure these things on the go. I personally just can't stand the very long start up time. On mobile, I really like instant gratification.

Of course it's still in beta and is currently available only on Maemo and Android. I really hope that by the time it reaches its final release, these deal breakers would have been addressed. I'd really like to use Firefox as my primary browser on my phone, but for now, I'll stick with MicroB.

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By Seeraj Muneer with No comments

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