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back to article Firefox's Fennec trots onto Windows Mobile

Fennec, the mobile version of the Firefox browser from Mozilla, has reached a milestone release with a version for the HTC Touch Pro, though initial reports seem to indicate it lacks key functionality. The milestone release is intended for Windows Mobile devices with VGA screens, though the Fennec blog mentions the HTC Touch Pro …

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So it doesn't quite work yet..

Hey it's out there, it needs a few tweaks to get it working, only way you can find some faults is to actually deploy it in the field I mean in the "lab / dev " environment with "simulated" devices there maybe no problems or might have gotten lucky with the test device..

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Lacks 'key' functionality on HTC Diamond

I've installed said software on my HTC Touch Diamond but as one might expect for a piece of software aimed only at the Touch Pro, it makes the simple assumption that there is a physical keyboard attached to the phone and so won't work with the software keyboard and other input methods available on the Diamond which lacks this piece of hardware.

Oh and on both models it takes about 3 minutes to start up compared with the 20 seconds or so for Opera.

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Anonymous Coward

Short Sighted?

Given that so much of the high end market is touchscreen only now, I'd have put soft-keyboard support at the top of my list of requirements. Partly because Windows Mobile seems to be an excellent example of what happens when you design around the presence of a hardware keyboard, and partly because most of the stuff sporting slide out keyboards have a touchscreen anyway.

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Opera Free ??

Since when has the Opera mobile browser been free?

According to the Opera home page you can get a free 30 day trial then you have to pay for the browser..

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Flame

I don't get it...

Why isn't everyone using Operas mobile offerings? I mean even my lowly Nokia S40 phone has a very functional Opera browser on it, that renders most sites without any effort, and Opera even reformats the pages and reduces the graphics for me to save me bandwidth.

The best bit, I add a bookmark on my phone, and it magically appears in my Opera desktop favorites (under Opera Mini bookmarks).

Mozilla, as per-usual are VERY late to the party, with a less than stellar offering, copying the features of everyone else. Their bloat is not wanted in mobiles. However the slick marketing will surely lure the brainless sheep their way...

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Anonymous Coward

"Microsoft seems to have given up on mobile browsing completely, for the moment at least."

Psst! Billy! There's already builds of the next WinMob build of Internet Explorer out there!

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Bug

Ignore previous comment

Just noticed the Opera do 2 browsers for mobiles one free and one not. So please just delete my earlier comment

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Joe
Alert

Fennec?

What an awful name. It sounds like something my girlfriend would sprinkle on pasta.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: Fennec

Fennec, a.k.a. Desert Fox. This is a small, fox-like animal with (proportionally) very large ears. Native to the northern Sahara reaches, it was (is?) also the mascot of one of my schools in Algeria. Looks cute-as-a-button, but will bite your finger off if you try to cuddle one. ^_^

No relations to an idiot pro-boxer, they prefer ears.

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@AC/Bug

Opera Mini (the free option) isn't a full browser - it works with servers at Opera.com to do "its thing".

Opera Mobile is a fully-fledged web browser. It's only free to users where the phone manufacturer or carrier has already paid Opera for an OEM licence (ie it's preloaded in the device ROM).

I don't quite know why Opera Mobile hasn't followed Opera on the desktop to the free, supported by advertising, model.

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@AC "Short Sighted"

"Given that so much of the high end market is touchscreen only now, I'd have put soft-keyboard support at the top of my list of requirements."

Hmm... well given it's a web browser I'd put good HTML rendering at the top of my list of requirements.

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IT Angle

vga mobiles

any other out there that done run an MS OS? 480x640 is nice I bet

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Keyboard schmeyboard

Why on earth should a browser have to know or care whether the keyboard is soft or hard?

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@Gerard Krupa

3 minutes to startup? Looks like they've taken the POS that was MiniMo and carefully attached a new name and front end to it then. That one was fast enough to resume once resident, but since it had a footprint in memory somewhat comparable with that of the Yeti in snow, you couldn't leave it resident and do anything else. Epic fail then and epic fail redux now.

As for Opera mobile: Plus side: f***ing magic! Minus side: they seem to have an "install to memory card" issue, in that it doesn't. In all fairness here, the 9.5 Beta clearly states that it doesn't, it's just that this doesn't help you much when the 3 meg clog in main storage causes it to throw out-of-memory errors all the time. Now if and when Opera fix this one, Mozilla might just as well pick up their marbles and go home.

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Browser wars Part 2?

Well I have a Touch Pro. And since everyone is dying for my opinions here they are:

1) Internet Explorer. Is a fair browser. 4 generations ahead of Palm's pitiful Blazer. But that's sort of like the fat guy from the local pub winning a gold in the special olympics. Still it does a reasonable job at setting where the bar should be.

2) Sky Fire. A great idea with some of the worst user interface problems I've ever seen. What it will zoom and how much is a complete mystery from page to page. Ultimately I hear it WILL play your favorite flash. So if that is how you define success vs failure I guess it's good. Try to read many web pages with it and you'll go blind (or perhaps I am already?)

3) Opera Mini. Near utter Shite. It probably isn't as good as Blazer. IF it doesn't crash it may render things Blazer won't. But that doesn't matter because it is going to crash in the next 5 seconds..... See there it goes again.

4) Opera Mobile. This is what a mobile browser should be. Rather dreadful and largely undocumented settings page. But "mostly" you don't need to mess with it. Browser is in ACTIVE development and although I haven't installed the latest builds it seems uncontested to take over at least windows mobile based devices. Actually, for most people it probably already has.

5) Firefox (fennec) I second (third?) this is a STUPID name. THANKS for the explanation. At least now I know it's a word. All it made me think of was some physics lab: Feme or some such. As for the browser, being a hard core firefox person I have been hoping from foot to foot to try this out. However, the cab file flat refuses to install. I'm not sure how they could do worse than that. I can't imagine why my unflashed Touch Pro would have problems with it. Seems like a remarkably weak first effort. They are already VERY late to the party. They may not catch up with Opera. Having a cab file on the internet that doesn't even install certainly doesn't close the gap any.

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Unhappy

Mobile browsing

I use a Touch Diamond (non-pro), and have got several browsers on it - horses for courses as it were.

The bundled Pocket IE is fast and quite frugal on resources. It's good for light browsing, downloading a document etc.

Opera Mobile 9.5 is very good for everything else, except it can consume quite a bit of RAM on occasion. It doesn't feel as fast as Safari on iphone but that's due to the way it renders the pages, which it does quite cleanly. It can also do "save link as.." (even having a seperate downloads tab) as well as being very clever in reflowing pages when needed.

Iris Browser looks good, quite functional and speedy. I don't use it as much, but is quite good.

I only use Opera Mini when a website is too laggy/problematic. The proxy thing does wonders. But because it is not a native app it's a small hassle to go through the JBlend.

I had tried the MiniMo. It was a hog of a thing, lasted all of 15 minutes on my device, five of which was probably waiting for it to boot up.

Firefox 3 is already quite a resource hog on the desktop, fortunately my deskside can take it. Its strength is also its weakness, namely the extensions. It needs quite a few to reach what Opera already has well integrated. I've switched to Opera on my Acer Aspire One, it's a lot zippier this way.

If Fennec to gain any foothold in the pocketable stage, it needs a core much leaner than its desktop counterpart.

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