Firefox for Tablets

The Mozilla Mobile Team is working tirelessly to make Firefox awesome on tablets, and I wanted to take a moment to share some of the design decisions we’ve made with the UI thus far. Firefox for tablets is an evolution of its phone based predecessor, with some added enhancements that take advantage of a tablet’s larger screen size.

Theming

Firefox looks right at home on Android 3.0, drawing its overall theme from Honeycomb’s minimalist design language. Of course, this is still Firefox, so we’ve made sure to keep familiar visual elements in place, like our signature big back button and a distinctive tab shape.

Awesomebar

Our Awesomebar uses the same tabbed menu to allow quick access to bookmarks, history, and your synced desktop activity. Users of the current phone version of Firefox will notice that the tabs have been moved off to the left, which makes them easier to reach and increases the number of results that can be displayed above the keyboard.

Tabs

On Firefox for phones, we meticulously tucked away all of our UI elements to free up the screen for unrestricted browsing. On a tablet, the bigger screen let us to bring some of those helpful elements back onto the screen, like tabs, for example. In landscape mode, tabs exist in a persistent left bar, allowing for quicker browsing. You can switch through tabs with your left thumb, and scroll through web content with your right. In portrait mode, this tab bar gets rolled up into a menu item at the top of the screen, to free up browsing space below. So whether you like keeping lots of tabs open and quickly switching back and forth between them, or if you prefer to just open a page and see nothing else on the screen, Firefox has you covered.

If you’d like to see more about our design process, check out these links:

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378 comments

  1. This is looking fantastic! Nice work.

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  3. JohnnyMrNinja

    I want this for PC!!!

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  7. 1) The design of the awesome bar looks very strange to me, I wouldn’t even expect for a second that there would be an area there to enter the name of a site I want to visit. But maybe all Honeycomb users instinctively know that (I’ve avoided Android as much as I can so far for philosophical reasons).

    2) I hope there is some way planned to hide the tab strip at least temporarily even in landscape mode. I envision I don’t want to have a row of pictures disturbing me when reading or even more playing a web game or working in some web app.

    • Hi Robert,

      1. The url bar is indeed consistent with other Honeycomb apps. Their intent was to strip away as many elements as possible and create a very simple and clean UI, and they even went as far as to use underlines for input fields. So I suspect most honecyomb users would be accustomed to this

      2. Having a dismissable tab strip is absolutely an idea we have on the table right now.

      • Well, good if it fits in with Honeycomb, then, even if it makes discoverability hard that this is actually a box you can enter a site into.

        I hope themability is good and I get access to a tab, then I can screw things up in a custom theme – the tab strip gives me ideas about how to make a really nice LCARStrek variant for this… ;-)

    • dc

      You’re avoiding Android for some reason, but you’re hoping software for it works a specific way?? And you’re making plans to make themes for software that runs on a platform you’re philosophically opposed to?

  8. fvsch

    This looks quite nice. But surely it won’t look as nice on pages with non-white backgrounds, especially backgrounds with graphic elements or textures?

    • Hi Fvsch, not to worry, we’re detailing the design in such a way where the white tabs and header look good even with sites that have a coloured background.

      It won’t flow as seamlessly together, but it will still look intentionally designed.

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  45. The UI is actually really nice and i think the User experience will benefit of your smart tab management, it would be nice to also implement a “panorama” like feature on the tablet version I love the feature so far since firefox 4

    • We’re working on another project similar to panorama which builds on the idea of a configurable home screen, and we’re thinking about ways to integrate this with our mobile browsers. Stay tuned!

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  59. Whizz

    Nice interface. Fits with Honeycomb and so with ICS when it ships in Q4.

    While the Moz Mobile Team are at it, they give the Android versions of Firefox the same granular control over accepting cookies that Firefox provideds with PC/Mac based versions. Last time I checked, the Moz Mobile Team had lobotomized that when they shipped for Android and reduced as to a simple “accept/reject all” choice.

    That is not good enough.

    Considering that Google continually refuses to provide granular cookie control in Chrome and the Chrome derived Android browser, this would give Firefox Mobile one very positive differentiator on Android. So please Moz Mobile Team, go for it!

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  61. Boy ur cruel to those impaired…

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  64. Gary Jack

    One word: FLASH.

    Until Firefox supports Flash on Android, there is no point in even having it installed on your phone or tablet.

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  70. Can’t wait for this considering your HTML5 support! Any hope of having the URL/Awesome bar hide in some manner?
    As soon as I got my Xoom I enabled the minimal UI in the browser (which is now default in 3.2 I think). I hate that safari on the ipad always wastes the top of the screen. With Android tablets insisting on having the button bar at the bottom, you’re talking about a lot of lost area in landscape mode. (I prefer portrait, it’s like reading a paper). For me I hardly enter an address directly. Always linking from somewhere or from Android’s global search bar.

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  75. Rafael

    The mobile theme is horrible on the iPad. Especially scrolling.

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  77. Matt

    Can this be brought to the Windows version of Firefox for PC tablets, like the Inspiron Duo? Why Dell brought it to market with zero software for touch is beyond me. Of course, I’m the idiot who bought it, and am still trying to find something it’s good at.

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  82. Apple is NOT the only force in the industry that can create a user interface!

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  84. When can we start using this?

    • Expect a working version of this in our Nightly builds very soon. I’ll be posting an update when the build is more ready for some user feedback, should be within the next few weeks.

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  89. Ed

    Can i actually have this no PC? I wanted Side Tab Bar for a long time. Wanted listed Tabs Bar, Wanted Tab Awesomebar, etc Most of what is shown on screenshots are features i have requested for a long time.

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  97. Regardless of ‘how nice it looks’ or whatever, two things need to happen to make this even WORTH downloading

    1) Firefox needs to drop the low res icons/text/graphics it used in the current mobile Firefox app

    2) The typing lag bug currently found in all honeycomb browsers needs to be addressed, particularly on pages with heavy java (g plus, facebook ) etc

    If so, this is a winner

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  122. Nice work! I hope Meego running on tablet will have tablet Firefox as well.

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  128. Will it be possible to use this UI on the regular (non-mobile) Firefox releases?

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  139. Hadi

    We want Firefox for iOS!!!!

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  155. It’s a great start, but it definitely needs tweaking. I’m not sure how this really links to the smartphone version or the desktop version. It needs to better align with both. I’m also not a fan of all the flatness, I expect that as it grows, it will assume more of the Firefox identity. It’s certainly exciting though.

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  168. What about moving the tab bar (and menu/s) to the right? It would save you from moving it all across the screen. Most people are right-handed and would probably prefer to use that hand for most tasks.

    On to your suggestion that the left hand switches tabs and the right navigates inside the viewed page: you don’t navigate and switch tabs at the same time, so your right hand isn’t involved in it.

    The best option IMO is choice – allow for the tab bar on the left or on the right and make it easy not to show it at all.

    Regards,
    Radek

    • Our first test build actually did have tabs on the right (you can see some old mockups of that here http://bit.ly/nDTxMt), and we actually found that having to “reach” over the tabs with your thumb to scroll web content was a pretty unpleasant experience.

      A tab bar that can be repositioned is an interesting idea, though, thanks!

    • I have to strongly agree with Radek. While I like the look of the UI the first thing I thought when I saw it was, “what’s with the left side tab bar?”.

      Is there a specific reason you opted for left side, or is that simply to be consistent with smartphone version? Because as a right handed individual, I usually hold the tablet in the left hand and use the right hand to interact with it, which means that tab switching on the right is the way to go. As it is right now, my hand would be obscuring the content as I switch tabs, not to mention the extended travel time.

      There definitely needs to be an option to switch the sides of the tab bar.

      I also think that it should be hide-able, i.e. have an option to make it collapse and have it expand on some sort of prompt (swipe, tab, etc.).

      “In landscape mode, tabs exist in a persistent left bar, allowing for quicker browsing. You can switch through tabs with your left thumb, and scroll through web content with your right.”

      You’re making some odd assumptions here. For one, again as Radek above points out, tab switching and browsing is not something that you do at the same time. You switch a tab then browse, that’s it. Have you ever found yourself switching tabs every few seconds while in between switching scrolling through content?

      What’s more, tab switching most of the time is a secondary functionality to browsing. Especially on a tablet where content is mostly consumed. On desktop the use case of switching between many tabs often involves some sort of content creation, like, checking code snippets on forums while coding a site, or referring to sources from multiple sites for an article, things like that. On tablets the user is much more likely to simply open a page and read it, meaning tab switching is not going to be done as often.

      Other than that, great job! :)

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  176. Holy mother of Raptor Jesus.

    One can only wonder if FF will look similar on Metro+ W8 UI. One can only hope.

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  195. Where can I download to test?

    • A working version of this will be in our Nightly builds very soon. I’ll be posting an update when the build is more ready for some user feedback, should be within the next few weeks.

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  200. Nice one :) shall be looking into that for my firefox now :)

    http://photogirl23.wordpress.com

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  204. jdale

    Is it for “tablets” or for “Android”?

    Using a Touchpad….

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  207. Neil

    All well and good, but why just for tablets? I’d like this interface on the PC version. I have a widescreen monitor, why are all the buttons, tabs etc on the top? Why not shift things to the side like this, where I have plenty of unused space?

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  222. don’t forget to include support for flash. i have firefox running on both my samsung galaxy s, as well as my nook color, but had to take them off in favor of dolphin dye to lack of flash support.

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  230. Kai

    I hope this will compile on a ARM Debian!

  231. Pingback: Mozilla presenta su navegador Firefox adaptado a Tablets | Compunoticias - Noticias de informática y tecnología

  232. Pingback: A Sneak Peek into the Firefox Browser Optimized for Honeycomb Tablets | Best Android Phones 2011

  233. Pingback: Firefox to talk pretty to tablets, one day | Up2dateNews

  234. Pingback: Mozilla shows off Honeycomb inspired Firefox for Tablets | 9to5Google | Beyond Good and Evil

  235. Pingback: Mozilla shows off Honeycomb inspired Firefox for Tablets | 9to5Google | Beyond Good and Evil

  236. Pingback: A Sneak Peek into the Firefox Browser Optimized for Honeycomb Tablets | IBlogTech

  237. Pingback: Firefox für Tablets auf dem WeTab | Das WeTab Blog

  238. Pingback: Mobile News and Reviews » Firefox for Tablets Gets a Brief Preview

  239. Pingback: ‘Fennecomb’ Firefox Tablet UI Previewed by Mozilla » Techno Capital

  240. Pingback: Matuk.com » Firefox en las tabletas

  241. Pingback: Firefox prepara un navegador para tabletas : International Fuel

  242. Pingback: Se viene Firefox para tablets Honeycomb | AndroidZone

  243. Pingback: Firefox en mode tablette « Clubic

  244. Pingback: פיירפוקס בקרוב בגירסא ייעודית ל-Honeycomb « ישראדרואיד

  245. Peteo

    So how can we port this to WebOS (Hp Touchpad)?

  246. Pingback: Firefox en las tabletas

  247. Pingback: Firefox for Honeycomb UI shown off, inching closer to a tablet near you | SEO Today

  248. Pingback: Avances del navegador Firefox para tablets | Cofre Tecnologico

  249. Pingback: Mozilla Shows Off Tablet User Interface | eWEEK Europe UK

  250. Pingback: Equipe da Mozilla prepara Firefox para tablets « Leonardowesleidiniz's Blog

  251. Pingback: » Firefox, coming to a Tablet near you.. » Glimaru

  252. Pingback: Firefox to talk pretty to tablets, one day | Source Of Drivers

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  254. Pingback: Firefox sorride ai tablet. « eletrochicche

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  256. Pingback: A Sneak Peek into the Firefox Browser Optimized for Honeycomb Tablets | DroidXpert

  257. Pingback: Firefox Mobile – in anteprima le schermate della versione per Tablet

  258. Pingback: UkrLife.net » Firefox готовится покорять планшеты

  259. Pingback: Code Shout » Firefox la maxim pentru tablete Android Honeycomb

  260. Pingback: A Sneak Peek into the Firefox Browser Optimized for Honeycomb Tablets » Firefox, Android, Honeycomb,  The, tabletRelated, postsFireFox » Newest Mobile Phones

  261. Pingback: Se viene Firefox para tablets Honeycomb | EmaCorp News

  262. Pingback: Mozilla amostra a versão do Firefox para tablets | TudoInfor

  263. Pingback: Firefox für Tablets « Browser Fuchs

  264. Pingback: Mozilla mostra versão do Firefox para tablets » Amplanet - Mais internet pra você

  265. Pingback: Technologie & divertissement » Blog Archive » Firefox pour tablettes Android : des images de l’interface dévoilées

  266. Robert Martin

    Just one thing.

    Please, please, please, release a Firefox for iPad.

  267. Pingback: Pronto habrá “Firefox” para tablets | JZR Blog │ El Blog de José Zegarra

  268. Pingback: Firefox pour tablettes Android : des images de l’interface dévoilées | Exanders.fr

  269. Pingback: 潮流科技

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  271. Pingback: Firefox dla tabletów z lepszym interfejsem użytkownika | OSWorld.pl

  272. Pingback: Νέος Firefox σχεδιασμένος για Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet |

  273. Pingback: فایرفاکس به تبلت‌ها هم خواهد آمد- آزادراه

  274. Pingback: Go Gadget News » Mozilla working on a tablet version of Firefox

  275. Dwayne

    It basically looks fantastic. KUDOS!

  276. Pingback: Mozilla: come si presenterà Firefox sui tablet Android | buonaguida.com

  277. Pingback: Phiên bản Firefox dành riêng cho Android tablet sắp ra mắt « vozExpress

  278. Pingback: Firefox for Honeycomb UI shown off, inching closer to a tablet near you | wizteq.com

  279. Pingback: Mr. Android » Blog Archive » Mozilla Updates us on Honeycomb-Optimized Tablet Experience

  280. Pingback: Firefox terá versão especial para tablets « BootBlock Bios Info

  281. Pingback: Primeras imágenes de Firefox para tablets

  282. Pingback: Technologie & divertissement » Blog Archive » Firefox pour tablettes en images

  283. Pingback: Novedades de Firefox para tablets | tuexpertoIT.com

  284. DynamLone

    No version for WebOS ?

  285. Pingback: Mozilla Previews Firefox For Tablets

  286. Pingback: Web Development articles, tutorials, help » Blog Archive » Mozilla Shows Off Firefox for Tablets

  287. Pingback: Mozilla actualizará Firefox para tablets basados en Android Honeycomb « Guaiqueri1

  288. Pingback: Mozilla Previews Firefox For Tablets « Wallpaper

  289. Pingback: Mozilla Firefox for Android Tablet PCs | News Breakthroughs

  290. Pingback: Firefox pour tablettes Android : des images de l’interface dévoilées | Allomonsite.com

  291. Pingback: Firefox, coming to a Tablet near you.. - Mobile | Tech Buzz Blog

  292. Pingback: Firefox Tablet App Blends Fennec with Android ‘Honeycomb’ » Techno Capital

  293. Pingback: Mozilla Previews Firefox For Tablets | DotNetMobile

  294. Pingback: First screenshots of Firefox for Tablets | AspenIT.co.uk | Computing & Technology News

  295. Will there be an x86 version, like the current builds of desktop Fennec? This will have the potential of becoming the preferred application for full screen mode and kiosk use if it will run on desktops.

    Also, PLEASE fix the keybindings of desktop Fennec to reflect the default operating system keybinding (Backspace should not act as a back button, double click should not change page zoom, mouse scroll should scroll instead of changing page zoom etc.).

  296. Pingback: Mozilla Shows Off Firefox for Tablets | t3knoDorKs

  297. Pingback: Mozilla: come si presenterà Firefox sui tablet Android | buonaguida.com

  298. Pingback: Mozilla Mobile Team working on Firefox Tablet Version | | Tablet-News.netTablet-News.net | Tablet News – Infos and News on Tablets and Tablet PC's

  299. Pingback: Mozilla Reveals Images of Web Browser User Interface for Tablet Devices | Siti News

  300. Pingback: Mozilla Brings Firefox to Android 3.0 Tablets: Sneak Peek | Download free apk, apps | Android freeware

  301. Pingback: Mozilla Shows Off Firefox for Tablets | Twin Rivers

  302. Pingback: Firefox va bientôt être optimisé pour les tablettes sous Honeycomb | FrAndroid Communauté Android

  303. Pingback: Mozilla Previews Firefox for Tablets [PICS] |

  304. Pingback: Firefox va bientôt être optimisé pour les tablettes sous Honeycomb | Tablette Tactile

  305. Pingback: Mozilla Previews Firefox For Tablets « TLT at Franklin & Marshall

  306. Glenn Butcher

    Persistent visible tabs, hooray!

    I’m using a Nook Color with Cyanogenmod, and none of the browsers I’ve tried keep the tabs or location bar visible when you scroll down. Yeah, that’s what you want on the phones, but even the 7″ tablet has enough room to leave it at the top.

  307. nico

    well, i already have a similar interface, or even better one, running on my win7 tabletpc: http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/1116/ff6onwin7tabletpc.jpg
    and it’s really touch friendly!

  308. Pingback: First Look at Firefox for Android 3.0 Tablets

  309. Pingback: Mozilla Targets Tablets With New Browser Designs | DotNetMobile

  310. Pingback: Mozilla Targets Tablets With New Browser Designs

  311. Pingback: Firefox for Tablet(Android Honeycomb)のスクリーン・ショットです! [ #cloud #cloudcomputing #cloudmix #googlejp #cbajp #cloudjp ] « Agile Cat — in the cloud

  312. Pingback: Mozilla parashikon versionin e Firefox për tabletë « shqiptech

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  316. Pingback: Firefox for Tablet(Android Honeycomb)のスクリーン・ショットです! « Agile Cat — in the cloud

  317. Pingback: Melhoramentos do Mozilla para Tablets

  318. Pingback: Firefox For Tablets First Look

  319. Pingback: MOZILLA TARGETS TABLETS WITH NEW BROWSER DESIGNS » FIREFOX, MOZILLA, ANDROID, GINGERBREAD, HOWEVER, HONEYCOMB » TECH MAGAZINE

  320. Pingback: Mozilla Previews Firefox Web Browser for Tablets | Android Tablet Fanatic

  321. Pingback: Mozilla Previews Firefox Web Browser for Tablets | androide.rs

  322. Pingback: Firefox llega a los tablets | Soluciones Plus

  323. Pingback: Firefox revealed for Honeycomb tablets | Gadgetgyaan

  324. Pingback: Mozilla Targets Tablets With New Browser Designs | Technology News - Computers, Internet, Invention and Innovation Tech from News247

  325. Pingback: Bedrettin Belek » Blog Archive » Mozilla Targets Tablets With New Browser Design

  326. Pingback: پیش نمایش مرورگر فایرفاکس برای تبلت‌ها | رایان پي سي

  327. Pingback: Mozilla Targets Tablets With New Browser Designs « Breaking News « Theory Report

  328. Pingback: Mozilla Previews Firefox Web Browser for Tablets | Allnewsyouneed.com

  329. Pingback: Firefox untuk perangkat tablet Android Honeycomb telah terungkap | FeedBerry

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  331. Pingback: Представлен прототип интерфейса Firefox для интернет-планшетов

  332. Pingback: پیش نمایش مرورگر فایرفاکس برای تبلت‌ها » دگرگون

  333. Pingback: » پیش نمایش مرورگر فایرفاکس برای تبلت‌ها

  334. Very slow and buggy for me. I love and want to use Firefox, but I don’t think it’s ready yet. But what the heck, I’m a Beta (maybe even Alpha) kind of guy anyway.

  335. Pingback: Mozilla Shows off Firefox Tablet UI | National Cyber Security

  336. Pingback: Firefox prepara su desembarco en las tablets | Tinanet – Portal de Noticias Argentina

  337. Pingback: Salieron a la luz las primeras imágenes de Firefox para tablets | Suena Feo

  338. Sid

    Hi Ian,
    I love Firefox a lot and it’s just the best browser out there. I love it because it works awesome even on my stone age browser. I have always wanted to make Firefox better and I made a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq3f9zNB2Bk long back.

    In tablets, screen real estate matters a lot. Why don’t you use an auto-expand URL bar and make the background transparent? So that when the page is scrolled, the content behind the awesome bar can also be seen. Sometimes it is just facebook.com/page_name and not facebook.com/23432423423?QWERQ@$#WER

    And in the landscape mode, you can push the back and forward button to the left, right above the thumbnails, and reduce the awesome bar to auto grow URL bar.

    These might not be important, but I just thought, it might look good. Good job with Firefox on all platforms. Keep rocking guys.

  339. Any chance we might see Firefox for WebOS? A boot-to-Gecko mode would be pretty sweet :)

  340. Earlier I tired the current mobile version of Firefox and I had two problems that I hope you can solid in the Honeycomb version.
    The first problem was that most sites redirected me to their mobile version, which is annoying when you have a high resolution tablet.
    The second problem was that you can only have one default browser responding to a click on a link. This means that if the Android browser is the default and I browse in Firefox and click a link, you immediately end up in the Android browser rather than Firefox. This makes using two browsers impractical.

    I would like to use Firefox so that I can use password and bookmarks cross browser.

  341. tim

    the tabs in landscape mode take up too much space. needs a show/hide

  342. Jan

    Hi. That looks very nice. However I have two points:
    1) You said you put the tabs on the left side because scrolling with the thumb of the right hand was difficult when the tabs were on the right. I can fully understand this. But I am lefthanded. With the tabs on the left I will have the same problem.
    2) I am writing this with firefox mobile on my tablet and it lasted very long to scroll the whole page down. It would be nice if there was a button “go to the bottom/top”.

  343. Please,
    Hide sidebar in landscape. Use a finger slide or something to hide/show it.
    It takes much to much place and destroys the browsing experience.

  344. Doug

    Ian,

    I’m happy to see more of the UI in the top line! I’m a big fan of the Firefox desktop UI, and I’d like to see the tablet UI get closer to that.

    Having said that, here’s another vote for the dismissable tab bar. In fact, I hate large images of tabbed pages, and would really prefer icon and text, as the desktop version offers. That would mean another line at the top. Second choice would be icons overlaid on smaller page images on the left, accessible with the swipe now used.

    For other controls, Opera has a very nice system with a drop-down from the Big O. Best of all the browsers. The Opera drop-downs are: Bookmarks, History, Start Page, Saved Pages, Downloads, Settings, Find, Share, Help, Exit. If you went with tab on top, I’d like to see something similar pop up in Firefox from a touch on the left side of the screen.

    Here’s another vote also for granular cookie controls. The more like the desktop version, the better.

    Really, it would be great to have all of the desktop settings + the android ones (e.g. user agent) set up like the tools>options UI of the desktop.

    And there’s a lot of space on the address bar. How about bringing back the search bar there?

    I haven’t been thrilled with Firefox Beta’s UI, but page rendering is far and away better than anything I’ve seen in any other browser on a tablet — so keep up the good work.

  345. It seems like the last hope of the WebOS was HP, and they just threw it away. Only Blackberry is using it now, and that’s hanging by a string.

  346. Pingback: Interfaccia Metro su Chrome e Firefox | IdeaGeek.it

  347. Yes, we do. We’re working on flash support for mobile firefox as we speak.

    Relax. It’s gonna be ok.

  348. Larry Mao

    Then why are you taking so long? This should have been an integral part of firefox for mobile from the start. There is not one browser on the Android market that does not support flash.

    Look at Dolphin, they give us tabbed browsing, add-ons, themes, etc, and support for flash. Firefox has fallen way behind the curve. It’s sad, b/c I use it as my main desktop browser, but until flash support is addressed I will not use it on my phone, nor my Gtab.

  349. Larry,

    The reason it takes a long time is a result of the necessity to study, analyze and reverse engineer much of the code. Flash for Android uses new and undocumented plugin API extensions, and Mozilla is basically reverse-engineering these from the Android Browser source code with little-to no help from Adobe. Since there is no specification or documentation, this takes a bit of detective work. Mozilla also needs to figure out whether these extensions can work well without modification in Firefox’s multi-process architecture, or whether Flash itself will need changes to work with Firefox on Android without causing performance or stability problems.

    Patience is a virtue.

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