File Under: Browsers, Mobile

Test Drive Firefox for Android Today

Firefox on the smaller screen

Mozilla has released an early preview build of its coming Firefox for Tablets web browser. Currently in development for Android 3.0, the Mozilla Mobile Team hasn’t hinted at a release date yet, but interested developers can start playing with a rough build in the Fennec Nightly channel.

To try out Firefox for Tablets head over to Mozilla’s Nightly Builds website and download the Mobile release for Android.

The Nightly channel is the starting point for new features in Firefox’s new rapid release cycle, so be aware that this is very rough, pre-alpha software designed for testing.

So far Firefox for Tablets is looking like a slightly tweaked version of its smaller sibling, Firefox for phones. Writing about the coming tablet build of Firefox earlier this year Ian Barlow, Mozilla’s mobile user experience designer, called Firefox for Tablets “an evolution of its phone based predecessor, with some added enhancements that take advantage of a tablet’s larger screen size.”

The new rough builds in the nightly channel look very close to the mockups Barlow posted earlier. The primary visual difference from the smaller screen version of Firefox for Mobile is the new persistent tab bar to the left of the screen (when in landscape mode). Rotate the tablet around to portrait mode and the tab bar disappears up into a menu item at the top of the screen, leaving more room for actual web content.

If you’ve been missing a tablet-optimized Firefox on that new fire sale TouchPad you picked up, this early preview of Firefox for Tablets should give you something to look forward to, though it will still be some time before Firefox for Tablets is ready for prime time.

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