Named after the diminuitive Saharan fox, the Fennec browser is FireFox for mobile. About a year ago, just as we were expecting the new FireFox 3 to appear, a team at Mozilla had created a working version for mobile after 6 months of work. A year on, have they made good on the promise of a desktop experience on mobile, or must we keep waiting?
The first beta of Fennec appeared two months ago and is now available for Windows Mobile and the Nokia N810. The WM download is a 25Mb installation, significantly bigger than the Minimo version we were building in the office two years ago. Minimo preceded Fennec and was very heavy on resources. (The Nokia-funded Minimo project ended in 2007.)
Most of the comments from recent users suggest the browser is noticeably slow. Of course, this may be less of a problem with newer devices, though hopefully the developers will put a bit more effort into code efficiency and not rely on the hardware to make up for less-than-optimal programming. (Coding efficiency is more a science than an art, though Knuth would probably disagree.)
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