Mozilla’s focus at the Mobile World Congress might be on the new Firefox OS, but that doesn’t mean the company isn't bringing us new versions of its Android app. Mozilla has announced an update for its Firefox for Android Beta app, and it brings a customisable home page, per-tab private browsing, besides other features. It must be noted that Mozilla has a different app for the beta and stable releases of its browser.
Owners of old phones with ARMv6-based CPU architecture will be pleased to know that the update beta app will now support their devices. The minimum requirements for the Firefox for Android Beta are now QVGA screen resolution and at least 384MB of RAM. Of course, this is not the first time that we are seeing support for legacy devices from Mozilla. The PC version of Firefox still supports Windows XP, an operating system that hasn’t got updates for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for some time.
The update brings per-tab private browsing and 'pinnable' bookmarks for your homescreen
Mozilla’s blog announced that the update will bring many changes, but the one that most people will instantly use is the tab-wise private browsing. “Firefox for Android Beta comes with new per tab private browsing, allowing you to switch between private and standard tabs within the same browsing session.” Of course, Private Browsing has been a feature for Firefox for quite some time now. It helps protect your privacy online and the browser does not save any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited. It must be noted that Chrome for Android already has this feature, so this is by no means a first for Android phones.
Firefox 20 also lets you pin your favourite sites to the home page. The blog says: “Now, you can customise the shortcut images on the home screen with your favourite or most frequently visited sites so they are only a click away. Tap and hold your top sites, tap “pin,” and you’re ready to go.”
The Android beta browser now also supports H.264/AAC/MP3 hardware decoding for Gingerbread and Honeycomb devices.
Mozilla also announced an update to its PC browser and the stable Android app. Firefox 19 features a built-in HTML5-based PDF viewer making it possible to read PDFs within the browser window. Users no longer need to download the PDF file or install a plugin like Adobe Reader in order to view a PDF.
The stable release for Android brings with it support for themes and also lowers the minimum CPU requirement for the phone to 600MHz.