Yesterday, Mozilla announced the first preview of a redesigned version of Firefox for Android, called Firefox Preview. It is powered by the GeckoView rendering engine and will eventually replace the current Firefox app for Android.
Why Mozilla is introducing a new Firefox for Android
Back in 2016, Mozilla introduced Firefox Focus, a privacy-focused mobile browser for Android and iOS users. It was initially launched as a tracker-blocking application and then was developed into a minimalistic browser app.
The team has been putting their efforts into improving the Firefox Focus app. However, the demand for a full-fledged private and secure mobile browsing experience has increased in recent years. The team realized this could be best addressed by launching a new browser app that is similar to Focus, but provides all the “ease and amenities of a full-featured mobile browser.”
Sharing the idea behind the new browser, Firefox Mobile Team said, “With Firefox Preview, we’re combining the best of what our lightweight Focus application and our current mobile browsers have to offer to create a best in class mobile experience.”
What features does Firefox Preview come with
Unlike some of the major browsers that use the Blink rendering engine, Firefox Preview is backed by GeckoView. This gives Firefox and its users the independence of making decisions for what they want in the browser instead of enforcing whatever Google decides. GeckoView also accounts for “greater flexibility in terms of the types of privacy and security features” Mozilla can offer its mobile users.”
Following are some of the features Firefox Preview offers:
- Up to two times faster: It is up to two times faster as compared to the previous versions of Firefox for Android.
- Minimalistic design: It comes with a minimalist start screen and bottom navigation bar to enable you get things done faster on the go.
- Includes Collections, a new take on bookmarks: Its Collections feature allows you to save, organize, and share collections of sites.
- Tracking Protection on by default: It comes with Tracking Protection on by default giving you freedom from advertising trackers and other bad actors. As a side effect, this also gives a faster browsing experience.
This is an early version of the experimental browser for Android users based on GeckoView, which means there are many features like support for ad blocking extensions, Reader Mode is not yet available. You can try it out and provide feedback for improvements to the team via email or on Github.
Check out the official announcement by Mozilla to know more.