Native Android Firefox finally beta-ready

After months of development, the overhauled Firefox for Android and its new native Android interface graduate to beta.

Mozilla updated Firefox for Android beta (download) today with an interface and underlying code that have been in development since the end of 2011.

The new beta features are nearly the same as those in the current stable build of Firefox for Android, except that the browser now supports Adobe Flash. That's a notable difference from Chrome for Android beta and the default Android browser, although Firefox isn't the only Android browser to play Flash content on Web sites.

However, the changes in this beta go beyond a new interface and Flash support. The browser loads pages significantly faster than before, the landing screen when you launch the browser is new, and text zooming is smoother. Searches via Google are now performed in the safer HTTPS, and developers can begin using the Pointer Lock API and a new API that prevents the screen from sleeping.

As befits a beta, the browser does have some noticeable flaws. These include problems with sync for people who have more than one Firefox channel installed on a single Android device, language support limited to English, and several problems with the Flash implementation. The struggles with Flash include problems in full screen mode and a lack of Tegra 2 running Gingerbread support.

The new beta works on Android 2.2 Froyo up through Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

This story was updated at 10:25 a.m. PST with more information about the changes in Firefox for Android beta.