Originally announced a year ago, Mozilla has released the ninth (first official) development milestone of Fennec, the mobile device edition of Firefox.
Current development is oriented and based on Nokia Internet Tablet platform (powered by Linux-based Maemo), and this first release is available for this platform only.
A Windows Mobile version is also in the works and should be available in future development releases.
As you can see from the screenshot below it pretty much resembles Firefox but with an even deeper UI simplification. The navigation bar for example is hidden until you pan the current page to the left. Then you get the usual back, forward and star button (tags included) and access to Fennec preferences.
Pan to the right and you get your currently opened tab thumbnails with a close button on each and another one to add another tab.
Preferences are kept to a bare minimum, but a searchable download manager is provided, along with the add-ons manager that looks just like Firefox’s including integration with Mozilla Add-ons, and pages for plugins, themes and extensions.
Security hasn’t been neglected and the site button which tells what level of encryption and authentication the current site offers is displayed when you press it. There is no way of telling from the primary UI though.
The awesome bar has also made its way to mobile and looks in your history and bookmarks tags, titles and addresses, for matches to your keywords.
One thing I definitely want in Firefox (and have been trying to mock up for a while) is the option of having several search engines (a search bar) accessible from the location bar, as you can see in the last line. It is not keyboard accessible so far as I want it but at least the options are there.
The mobile team has made Fennec builds for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X available for everyone to try andÂ get the most feedback possible.
For a more vivid taste of Fennec, check this demo video made by Fennec user experience team member, Madhava Enros.
It still lacks bookmark folders, plugins support (sorry, no YouTube), and have some performance and UI redrawing issues, but that is expected from an alpha and as Mozilla’s Jay Sullivan points out: “Our focus so far has been on the user experience.Â Weâ€™re drawing inspiration from new ideas designed to make navigation easier and maximize the amount of the screen dedicated to Web content.Â We look forward to your feedback and will make lots more improvements to the user experience.”
Check the Fennec Alpha 1 release notes.