We've been eagerly awaiting developments to Fennec, the project name assigned to Mozilla's mobile version of its Firefox browser. We took a look when Fennec Alpha 1 came out for Windows Mobile phones. Late last week Mozilla released updates for Fennec on both its available platforms: Fennec 1.0 Alpha 2 for Windows Mobile and Fennec 1.0 Beta 2 for Maemo, the platform used on the Nokia N810 and N800 Internet tablets.
With the exception of some work on the interface theme and in the add-ons module, most alpha testers of Fennec for Windows Mobile won't notice drastic visual or feature changes. However, Mozilla hopes that you will see improvements to the browser's panning performance and add-ons support. (To get started with add-ons, swipe the screen to the right and press the gear icon (Settings) to arrive at the add-ons view. As before, this page lists your installed extensions and lets you search or browse to find and add new ones.)
We had no trouble installing and using the Windows emulator, but we could only get Fennec 1.0 Alpha 2 to load onto one of two Windows phones. While it looked good on the Palm Treo Pro, Fennec is still firmly in the alpha testing stages. Panning is better, but not ideally responsive. On its mostly square screen, we could not scroll the controls on the right to access the add-ons gallery. To be fair, the Palm Treo Pro probably isn't the testing device Mozilla had in mind. Fennec's emulator assumes a wide-screen browsing orientation.
As usual, we'd like to hear your thoughts on either of these prerelease builds. Share your experiences in the comments.