Firefox Debuts on Android Tablets

Mozilla has been working hard on adapting its Firefox browser for mobile devices, with an increasing focus on a browser just for tablets. That browser, named Fennec, has now started appearing in "nightly build" form for developers.

"It has now reached a functional state that is good enough for getting some early feedback," said Mozilla developer Lucas Rocha in blog post. "Keep in mind that this is very early stage work. There are lots of rough edges and design is continuously evolving."

The design apparently keeps elements from its smartphone-based little brother, namely the tab switching pane on the left-hand side of the screen and other options available on the right-hand side. The bigger screen has allowed for some new features, though, including forward and backward navigation buttons, an address bar, and buttons for reloading and bookmarking web pages.

Above: note the new address bar and navigation buttons (image courtesy of CNet)

The nightly builds come as Mozilla has started heavily focusing on sometimes-competitor Google's Android Honeycomb OS, in a bid to keep the Firefox browser relevant in the mobile landscape. In a market increasingly dominated by pre-installed mobile browsers like Safari, Opera Mini, and the default Android browser, Mozilla is trying to carve out a share for itself, and sees Android as the platform to put its money on in making that happen. Doubtless, the company faces an uphill battle: recent statistics show that Safari owns a whopping 50% of the market, followed by Opera Mini, Android, and Symbian in fractional parts.