Reinventing Firefox for Android: a Preview

https://blog.mozilla.org/futurereleases/2019/06/27/reinventing-firefox-for-android-a-preview/

I will probably try it out over the weekend, but I feel like it’s not ready for prime time due to the lack of extension support. I also heard that sync support is functional but with some features missing.

AFAIK, regular Firefox for Android will eventually be automatically updated to the new fenix-derived version.

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I’d been using Firefox Focus as an alternative for a bit. While I know that it isn’t as heavy duty as Tor, it blocked a lot of the trackers and third party data mining. I wonder if this will be similar in any way?

Some thoughts after using preview for a bit:

  • The UI/UX feels snappier and more responsive. This is particularly noticeable when inputting things in the address bar.
  • I am not seeing much difference in rendering speed relative to regular FF (both are good on my SD625 device).
  • Native dark mode is definitely an improvement over my 3rd party dark mode theme for mobile (yes, you can actually theme Firefox for Android). I wish FF would switch based on local sunset/sunrise (ala Nova Launcher), but it’s not that big of deal (they do support alignment with system theme on Pie).
  • I found the bottom placement of the address bar awkward at first, but it seems to be an improvement once you get used to it.
  • Default tracker blocking is no replacement for UBO. Lack of addons is a big drawback for Firefox Preview.

I will most probably switch once Firefox preview starts supporting UBO.

EDIT: Some screenshots:

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I started using Firefox preview last werk after using bromite for several months and I can say with certainty I’ll never go back. Firefox is superior in every way. Such speed, such convenience. The way bookmarks are replaced by collections is brilliant.

Some other comments after using Preview for a few month:

  • Still no support for extensions, although they are confirmed on the roadmap and I believe support should be added sometime in early 2020.
  • I am not sure I like the collections / bookmarks dichotomy. Maybe I just don’t get the collections concept?
  • No tablet UI. I tried installing Preview on a relative’s tablet and the UI was from the phone version. Regular Firefox for Android has a decent tablet UI.

It seems to still be usable for me as I am only given these options for the default search engine.

and I refuse to use thre three first and I also won’t accept Mozilla forcing me into one of those. It also goes against my language policy to change my system language to English or something that would offer me more privacy friendly options.

I think that is the issue as they at one point closed a lot of issues about this pointing to some issue about custom search engines.

There are DDG and Qwant in the search settings

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Collections are supposed to replace bookmarks.

I have ddg as only privacy option; fine by me since it is my preferred search engine for now.

To clarify your my previous comment, the search engine options depend on which system language you are using. If you change your language into Finnish (suomi), then your Firefox Preview options become the same as mine are.

I didn’t know that, but it sucks. Though I can not use software in any other language but English , even though it’s not my mother tongue

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Is there a way to try it out without accessing the Google play store?

Fennec F-Droid (Browse the web) -

https://f-droid.org/app/org.mozilla.fennec_fdroid

I mean this new version of Firefox.

https://f-droid.org/app/org.mozilla.fenix You can, by adding the unofficial Mozilla F-droid sources.

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It says 404, any idea why? :disappointed:

Even on desktop?

Not for now anyway, not sure what they’re gonna do with the desktop browser.

It says 404, any idea why?

You can, by adding the unofficial Mozilla F-droid sources.

That’s my issue with collections, they don’t seem to have the same support for different platforms (e.g. bookmarks worked on smartphone, tablet and desktop.