File Under: Browsers, Mobile

Mozilla Offers Sneak Peek at New Tricks in Firefox for Android

Image: Mozilla

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has, thus far, been short on jaw-dropping new Android hardware. But fear not, Android fans, while new devices may still be just over the horizon, Mozilla has a sneak peek at a few new tricks coming soon to Firefox for Android.

To get the new year started Mozilla has released Firefox 18 for Android, which you can grab from the Google Play Store.

This release brings search suggestion to Firefox for Android, along with new phishing and malware protection. Once you opt-in to the new search suggestions, Firefox will — much like Google’s search page — start suggesting search terms as you type, making it faster to find what you’re after.

Like its desktop cousin, Firefox for Android will also now warn you whenever you visit a site that may be used for malware or phishing to protect users from malicious websites.

While Firefox 18 is a welcome upgrade for Android users, Mozilla has much more coming soon. The company recently posted a sneak peek at what’s in store for Firefox for Android in 2013.

The highlights include support for Private Browsing mode in the Android incarnation of Firefox. Private Browsing is getting an overhaul on the desktop side as well, with Firefox 20 expected to include a way to open Private Browsing tabs right alongside your normal tabs.

Presumably the new approach to Private Browsing will also ship with Firefox for Android, rather than the current, more cumbersome way of browsing privately, which requires hiding your current windows and opening an entirely new set of private windows.

Private Browsing is often dismissed as “porn mode,” but in truth there are plenty of uses beyond simply keeping your cookies and browsing history private. Think simultaneous logins, debugging with a “clean” visit to a site and anything else that requires separate cookies or sessions.

Next up on the Firefox for Android agenda is more device and language support. Unfortunately, the Mozilla blog doesn’t say which models might be added to the list of devices Firefox for Android supports, noting only that Mozilla is “bringing support for more devices all the time.”

The third sneak peek Mozilla is offering means more customization for Firefox on mobile — themes and more start page options will be coming soon.

Naturally, these three things aren’t the only changes due for Firefox for Android in 2013, but hopefully, now that the under-the-hood migration to native Android tools is done, Mozilla can focus its attention on new features and speed improvements.