Most people don't use Firfox as their preferred smartphone browser, but Mozilla wants to change that by making a native Android version of the popular open-source desktop browser. All new versions of Firefox on Android will have a tweaked user interface that loads faster and uses less memory, Mozilla Director of Firefox Engineering Johnathan Nightingale said in a message board post.
Firefox on Android is a critical part of supporting the open web, and this decision puts us in a position to build the best Firefox possible. Nightengale said.
There is no date set yet for when the new version will be available, so Firefox 8 and 9 will both go out this year in the current XUL configuration.
Firefox uses the XUL based language to retrieve and display Web site information, but the switch over to the the native Android UI means all the add-ons many are used to may not be coming along. AdBlock is a popular add-on, for example, and in the Android environment, Firefox may not be able to support it. Mozilla is aware of this, and Nightengale addressed it in his post, but the decision to go native is a recent one and there could be time in the future to make sure extensions are possible in the Androd version.
Most smartphones come with a native browser like Safari or Google's unnamed browser, and so Firefox must be downloaded and installed. Unfortunately for Firefox, the Google Chrome browser has been getting more and more popular in the desktop world, and that may have also influenced Mozilla to work more on mobile usability.
Tell us in the comments if you use Firefox on your mobile device or what your favorite mobile browser is.