September 25th, 2010

children of dune - leto 1

for android phone users - we have firefox! er, fennec!

Firefox is now on Android phones!--er, sort of.

Fennec, Alpha Build. There are links to the phones supported and the phones maybe-supported. I can state that ARMv6 does work with MyTouch 3G Slide, but it is rough and I mean really not easy to use. I'm thinking the higher processors plus larger screen size might help, but then again, this is an alpha build, who the hell knows.

If you tried it last week and it wasn't working, keep trying. This is the first build that's worked for me.

Notes so far:

1.) load time is slower than regular Firefox with ten thousand extensions and a hundred permanent tabs. But you know, w/e, this is an alpha build.

2.) I don't know what the hell they are doing with text and screen, but there is no text wrapping, and everything is either way too big (on preferences page) or tiny (surfing). They recommended Easy Read to help with that, but I can't get it to download so far. Still looking at mobile add-ons. Will update when found.

3.) Navigation is not as intuitive as one might hope, and the onscreen keyboard gets in the way of the page without the integration of the keyboard commands into the page. If you have a physical keyboard, it does not recognize special characters from it--you need the onscreen. Yeah, no clue.

4.) So far, cannot get Firefox Sync to work. UPDATE: Yes, now it works, God, fennec, wtf?

5.) Still not sure how to look at the different tabs; again, this is not intuitive to smartphone design at all and there is not a lot (read, any) integration with how most smartphone users interact with browsers on their phones (I can't find it, anyway). I'm sure I'll adapt and love it later. God I will try.

UPDATE: Okay, I can accidentally get to the other tabs now. I have literally no idea how I did that.

UPDATE 2: Okay, scrolling hard left (wtf, would it kill them to have like, an arrow somewhere to indicate this?) brings you a screen with a whole bunch of super tiny webshots of webpages with giant red x's on them. Those are your tabs. Yeah. No idea. Boggle. There's also an icon near the bottom right which jumps to your Firefox synced bookmarks, history, et al. Scrolling hard right is a bookmark icon, two arrows (they do something? They're disabled for me, so I suspect i have not done what they activate after I do), and an icon that goes to your download folder. From the download folder, you can go back with the left arrow, go to Preferences (the second icon of--I have no idea, what does that mean?), a down arrow going somewhere (it has something to do with downloads?), and a fourth icon symbolizing extensions that goes to Your Add-Ons.

6.) This is a power hog and a speed killer. OTOH, this is a lot of fun.

Further Notes on Text

For preferences you'll need to grit your teeth and bear it. For webpages, do what you alwasy do and zoom. No text wrapping--and I say this as a page loads with text wrapped, so lets' go with that. However, while yes, tiny, each page looks right (and tiny) and pretty much like they are pulling the entire page wholesale and shoving it into (small) browser window. It doesn't seem to be detecting mobile versions of pages, but I could be wrong, or it could be mean.

Okay, I'm basically recommending this because hey, this is kind of adorable. And enough of you are like me that works-in-progress really appeal.

For the ARMv7, list of Supported Phones, with the second list that isn't compatible with the ARMv7 build but might be with the ARMv6 experimental build (and boy is it experimental). I can officially add it is functional for MyTouch 3G Slide. I'm seriously tempted to pull the source code just to read it, but on a glance, I am not thinking I will be able to read this easily.

Final Note

Fennec via Wikipedia - The Fennec Fox (Vulpes zerda) is a small nocturnal fox found in Sahara Desert of North Africa.

Oh my God they are adorable. Don't you want to download this just for that?

ETA: May randomly aside not to recognize your onscreen keyboard and you have to use the physical one should you have one. Oh fennec. Why are you so adorable and yet barely functional?

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