Mozilla Fennec handheld browser previewed

After its brief look at Mozilla’s plans for handheld browsers and data portability last month, Ars Technica has gotten another sneak peak—this time at the upcoming mobile flavor of Firefox, which Mozilla has nicknamed Fennec. The browser is at the “functional prototype” stage, and Ars got to test (and take a screenshot of) a pre-alpha test build on a Nokia N810 internet tablet.

According to Ars, the N810 is a good platform to showcase Fennec, because it comes with a browser based on early Firefox 3 code out of the box. In the SunSpider JavaScript performance test, Fennec is reportedly almost six times quicker than that default browser—a testament to Mozilla’s optimization work.

Ars also got to chat with Mozilla Mobile director Jay Sullivan about the mobile browser. Sullivan says Mozilla focused on web compatibility, security, performance, and support for “rich Internet apps.” Sullivan laments that existing mobile browsers make it difficult to enter web addresses, navigate between pages, and use multiple browser windows or tabs. “We’re doing some creative thinking about how to make it easier to get to the content you care about, easier to navigate within those pages, easier to seamlessly move between your PC and your phone,” he adds.

Mozilla plans to have the first alpha build of Fennec out on August 1, 2008. In the meantime, Ars’ article dwells on some of the specifics of how Mozilla is putting together the new browser and what users can expect. (Thanks to TR reader SH SOTN for the link.)

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