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Six Alternative Browsers to Chrome for Android

Posted by wicked January - 26 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

browsers

Browsers are one of the most essential parts of smartphones. When the original iPhone came out, there was a big deal about that single fact, as it featured a Safari web-browser that brought the experience a much needed crispness and smoothness. On phones, that is; many of you probably remember what many seem to forget – dumb phones did it too! When I was a kid, I’d grab my father’s Motorola Razr (probably the most stylish dumb phone there was) and browse the internet on a poorly formatted (but decently wrapped) WAP browser displayed on a low resolution screen. That didn’t stop me from trying to play Runescape (brings you back huh?) on it. Of course it would never work! But being a tech fanatic at such a young age, the possibility was enticing, and the mere fact that the internet rested at my palm was a sublime realization, even at that age.

Blackberries did browsers too, and their track-balls and track-wheels were awesome for that. But the current smartphones really have an edge in every way, and right now a big advantage is the modular nature of current software – a lot of browsers are available for you to try, adapt to, master and enjoy. There’s too many, in fact, and following typical Playstore distribution, you’d find that most of them suck and that there’s just a few browsers dominating the browser market.

What’s probably the biggest competitor to these top browsers is Google’s own Chrome browser. It is a staple of the Android experience, and now that it comes built-in as a default browser in Stock-Android and OEM phones, everyone has immediate access to enjoy its goodness. A lot of factors make Chrome stand out above the crowd. It is very fast, and has gotten considerably smoother in 2014 – you’d think it would considering every Google changelog ever lists performance improvements. But then there’s the fact that it is also in-line with Material Design, and the few extra features it has really enhance the experience. To top it off, it is neatly integrated with both your Google account and your desktop browser, allowing for seamless transitions through cloud synchronization. You know all of this, as these are probably some of the reasons why you keep the app on your launcher dock.

However, Chrome still has some issues. On lower-end devices it is not as fast and smooth as on Nexuses and other flagships. Text-wrapping needs some work (still). Google also took the refresh button out of the address bar on its MD update, which hurts the navigation on the app a little bit. And then there’s the fact that, like with most Google apps, there’s very little for you to configure or customize, which means that you are mostly stuck with the browsing experience that Google wants you to have. There are more reasons, and these are just what I’ve encountered through my user experience which is something that greatly varies from user to user.

Luckily, if Chrome isn’t your go-to browser because of this or that, you still can choose from a good number of impressive browsers. Let’s take a look at which ones are good alternatives, and why they can compete with Google’s monolithic browser in the first place.

All screenshots took at 360 DPI – the interfaces will take more space in default DPI settings.

Dolphin

Dolphin has a very traditional interface, including a desktop format with tabs at the top by default. Having them at the top of the screen is great for navigation, as you can quickly access an extra tab – and not just quick switch, as in non-tabulated browsers – without the need for a full tab overview. The big problem is that it takes up a lot of space, even for this format. It is simply huge, and in my opinion, a little ugly. Those of you spoiled by the Material minimalism of Chrome will not like this as much, even if it is flat. Luckily there’s themes to address this… But all of the included ones are distractedly colorful and inspired by pictures of flowers or landscapes – clashing entirely with our current Material Design.

UI performance is rather good, but both in benchmarks and in real world use, javascript is slower than the rest of the pack. When it comes to page loading speed and re-resizing performance, it is pretty bad if you are used to Chrome. In fact, of all the browsers I tested, it was the worst of the bunch. It was also the second biggest memory-hogger, so those RAM-conscious of you might want to reconsider.

Where the browser shines, however, is features. Dolphin Jetpack scores great in HTML 5 due to Jetpack which is a webkit improvement for GPU rendering that works behind-the-scenes, which is good for the future standard that is being rapidly adopted. As far as actual functionality goes, this browser offers a lot of things I love. For navigation, you’ve got browser-wide gestures to launch whatever site you want in a pinch. And if you don’t feel like drawing, you’ve got the option to voice-search with a smart Sonar feature that works tremendously well. You can also configure the volume keys to scroll websites or better yet, switch tabs. All of this, coupled with tabs on GUI, makes for a very fast and efficient navigation experience. With Dolphin, you don’t just surf the internet, you swim elegantly. It lives up to its name in this regard.

 

Next

Next, we’ve got… Next. Now, I typically hate GO software. I mostly find it bloated, RAM hogging, and generally unappealing. But their latest browser improved significantly on those points. Next is very minimal, and it resembles older Chrome versions in a way. Its got clean aesthetics and the animations of the UI are rather good, among the nicest in this list. The best part of the UI is that its got a very small search bar, and that you can hide the notification bar; these two things make for a very big browsing canvas and it is something I like to see in browsers, specially now that I don’t have App Settings to force immersive mode.

The UI and performance are very optimized. It definitely shows that GO has put some more time than they used to in making this not too bloated. And if you want performance inside a webpage, you’ve got that too, as the javascript performance is second-to-none when it comes to Chrome alternatives. It is not that fast when loading websites, however, so you might want to keep that in mind. Browser Mark scores put it just under Dolphin, and while I can’t notice that differential, it does feel noticeably slower than Chrome. If you value loading speed, stay away. If you are tight on RAM, you’ll love this browser as it is very light -the lightest, in fact-, and never leaves background processes running.

The disappointing part about this browser is the lack of features. You can sync bookmarks, but that is about it. You can also customize the homescreens to a degree, and there are gestures to switch tabs… But as far as options go, it is no Dolphin. Which isn’t necessarily bad if you are used to Chrome. Just don’t expect a whole lot other than light and smooth software with sub-par browsing speed.

 

Firefox

Firefox has an interesting UI. It is very rounded and adds a gradient to your now-grey notification bar, which makes it rather aesthetically pleasing. It’s got a similar menu to chrome, that slides out displaying options in rows. Then you’ve got a tab switcher at the top which lowers the interface to reveal your tabs. But if you are a phablet user, and especially if your DPI is adjusted to make it justice, you’ll find that the tabs are a little too high for simple thumb reach, and the refresh button is at the highest possible location, past vertical thumb reach. This takes some points away from it in comparison to Chrome’s simple and efficient tab system(s). However, the list-tabs system is efficient, as it provides very informational looks at your tabs so that you know precisely where you are going to in a pinch.

Firefox is one of the best in javascript performance, topping the benchmarks of all of the browser alternatives. And as far as webpage loading goes, it is very decent on cold-loading the websites, but if you happen to close the app and want to get back to it, you’ll find that it takes just as long to hot-load the site you just closed. This is very frustrating for low-memory devices that constantly kick browsers out of memory (and Android’s trigger-happy Memory Manager doesn’t exactly help). And the worst part is, this bad boy makes that matter worse as it can take over 100mb of RAM with no websites open. Certainly not a good option if you are on a budget phone, as Chrome uses almost a third of its standby memory.

As far as features go, Firefox has enough to offer you. You can save pages as PDF documents to look at later in all their glory. Then there’s a “Reading List” feature where you can save web sites to look at later. And there’s a very useful guest mode so that your friends can’t access your data if they need to look for something on your phone’s browser. And while talking about the extensions would be unfair, there is a very solid extension system and theme switcher, meaning you can add many features or change the look. Oh, and this browser is Open Source, so you can tinker with whatever you don’t like or find a fork that solves your gripes.

 

 

Javelin

Javelin is gorgeous. It is one of the few browsers that have adopted Material Design, and it did a good job at that. The default color palette is a little wild at first, but it is aesthetic enough to grow on you, especially given that it changes your status bar accordingly… something Chrome is still missing, surprisingly. As for the setup, there’s options at the sides and I think that they aren’t properly distributed. Tabs are not as conveniently accessible as in other browsers, however, and I think that their layout is not the best for navigation. But the gestures it offers make up for it.

As far as performance goes, it is no slouch. Its benchmark scores are up to par with Chrome at some levels, and it only scores less than 400 points than Chrome’s Browsermark score of 2895. In real world use, it works very well also. Websites load fast, javascript is responsive and swift, and you won’t be left waiting like some of the worst offenders on this list. The UI performance is very good, especially considering that this is a rather feature-heavy browser. One of the problems I’ve always had with Javelin, though, is that it is a little too ambitious with its memory usage, as it drains too much even when idle, particularly with its Stack feature running in the background.

But this Stack feature is great. If you are familiar with Link Bubble, this is just as useful. It’ll load your links found in other apps in the background, and lets you access them whenever you want to by tapping the foreground stack that appears. It makes multitasking excellent and takes navigation outside of the box. It certainly beats Chrome in this regard, as Android’s current activity tasking system is confusing and you can very easily destroy the instance your hard work might be laying on. Other features include a built-in ad blocker, and it allows you to sync your bookmarks and history with Chrome, which is one of the biggest appeals of the browser giant. Its incognito mode is even more secure, and there’s a handy “reading mode” that turns distracting web sites into an easily digestible plain article.

 

Opera

Opera was my go-to browser when I had older devices, and it hasn’t changed that much. That’s not to say it doesn’t look good. It features gradients that look a little dated on our more flat interfaces of today, but it is still to-the-point and simple to have charm. The top sees a tab switcher, which is conveniently spawned at the bottom for easy thumb reach. The menu button has a big grind that makes every element easy to identify and click, so you no longer have to eye-scan a list to find the “find in page” button, just click the magnifying glass! And finally, it features many interface modes, to adjust to tablets and phones. The default one has a bottom bar that is really useful, even if it takes up some space.

Javascript performance is above Firefox’s and Dolphin’s, but that’s not saying it is terrific. Next and Chrome are still significantly better. As far as UI speed goes, this one is very optimized, probably due to its long time in the market, with a lower-end target demographic back in the day. Browsermark scores surpass Chrome itself by a wide margin because of this, hitting close to 3200 over Chrome’s ~2900. I did have two few instances where the browser stuttered for  20 second period, but these could just be momentary glitches, and it wasn’t all too often. Page loading is on par with Chrome, but like Firefox, it suffers from poor hot loading times. Luckily, it is nowhere near as memory hungry, but it is still the third heaviest on this list behind Firefox and Dolphin.

Opera’s biggest feature is its interface, I would say. Navigation on it is very neat, especially with the bottom bar. It takes plenty of space, admittedly, but it helps. One of the biggest selling points of Opera back in its desktop golden days was the speed dial, and you see it here. You can customize quick-access tiles to your bookmarks or favorite sites – whatever you want – to enter them as soon as you open a new tab. This is something many browsers offer, but none do it as good as Opera does. Then there’s an off-road mode that will help you save data, but Chrome already has data saving at this point in time. The “Discover” feature shows you information or websites for you to surf through, and not necessarily stuff neatly picked to suit your tastes. I personally love that because, in my opinion, you don’t really surf the internet anymore when everything is tailored towards your likes through search and ad algorithms.

 

Maxthon

This one has been gaining buzz lately, and for some good reasons. Good features, good speed, decent benchmarks.

The interface is not that good in comparison to some others in this list, but it definitely isn’t the worst. Chrome’s is hard to surpass, and this one doesn’t scratch as much as a dent on it. The default tabulated interface is too tall for its own good, which is great for tablets and endurable with a proper DPI, but if you are running stock you might get put off by it. It is clean looking, nonetheless, and prettier than most of the competition. It can also feature a bottom bar for quicker navigation, allowing acces to home, back and forward, favorites and menu.

Javascript performance is above Firefox and Dolphin, but behind Opera, Next and Javelin. It stands as a good in-betweener in this regard. As far as webpage loading and re-sizing tests, it definitely doesn’t fare as well as Opera and Firefox, and neither Chrome. But it is the second fastest in this list when it comes to loading webpages, and the definite best at hot loading. Couple this with the fact that it is the second lightest in the list and you won’t be having many re-drawing issues. However, it still isn’t lighter than Chrome. But on a personal note, my experience with this browser was the worst on this list by far as UI experience went, everything just lagged. It could be that it is not optimized for my phone (Exynos processor) but I just couldn’t stand the stuttering.

Features have this browser shine:  Quick Access is a speed dial replacement that works very well, and with News Bites you can put your favorite social media on there as well. “My Cloud Tabs” lets you seamlessly transition from devices by syncing your tabs, and you can push text, images or links a-la-pushbullet to Maxthon accounts. Reader mode removes ads and formats webistes for you. You can also sync favorites, you can increase the browsing size, you’ve got built in screenshot assistants, amazing text wrapping, and amazing navigation gestures. Oh, and if this isn’t enough, there are add-ons.

 

Conclusion

All of these browsers have clear strengths and weaknesses. As the browser scene currently stands, I think that Chrome is the best all-around browser and it certainly wins over almost all of them when it comes to a fast and efficient user experience – even if its a simpler one.

But like many of Google’s offerings, it is a little too bare-bones for some power-users with specific needs and wants. And all of the browsers in this list add something nice that you might find useful for your browsing use cases. If you want better navigation because you constantly need to be switching tabs, there’s something for you. If you want loads of features, you can get that too. If you want a lighter and speedier browser, you are in luck!

That’s the beauty of Android, you can get just what you want, or at least get really close to it. And when it comes to such a fundamental part of smartphone experiences, you can get just that too. While Chrome still remains my favorite browser, even if just because of commodity and comfort, it can be replaced by plenty of options and the ones in this list are a good place to start.

But these are just short overveiws. I suggest you to just download them and try them for yourself, because browsers have to click with you and adjust to your needs and wants, not the reviewer’s. I personally value navigation and speed the most, but you might want better features or strong javascript support or a customizeable interface. So just give whichever browser interests you a try, and see its pros and cons for yourself!

The post Six Alternative Browsers to Chrome for Android appeared first on xda-developers.

Pushbullet finally brings its “Universal Copy & Paste” feature to Android

Posted by wicked November - 21 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

pushbullet

Back in August, Pushbullet unveiled a revolutionary new feature, which empowered users to copy and paste files across multiple devices. At the time of release, this function was restricted to Windows-powered smartphones and computers, but now, thanks to an automatic update rolling out today, Android, Mac and Linux users get to use the service, too.

Hit the break to see Pushbullet’s new feature in action.

Click here to view the embedded video.

We’d love to know what you think — so be sure to drop us a comment in the section below.

Source: Pushbullet

Come comment on this article: Pushbullet finally brings its “Universal Copy & Paste” feature to Android

Firefox Beta update brings ‘tab casting’ & more!

Posted by wicked October - 17 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

 

Firefox Beta Android

Mozilla is in the midst of pushing out a rather hefty software update to its official Firefox for Android Beta application. In terms of added functionality, the upgrade transports tab mirroring support for Chromecast, integrated Wikipedia search, the ability to change search defaults and much, much more.

Hit the break below for the full changelog.

New:

Tab mirroring support for Chromecast
Added support for Prefer:Safe HTTP header
Wikipedia search now uses HTTPS for secure searching
Beta search default changed to Yahoo for evaluation
Toggle wifi on error pages
Public key pinning support enabled
Implementation of HTTP/2 (draft14) and ALPN
Redesigned first run experience
Browser theme refresh

HTML5:

ECMAScript 6 WeakSet Implemented
JavaScript Template Strings Implemented
CSS3 Font variants and features control (e.g. kerning) implemented
Device Storage API for privileged apps enabled
WebCrypto: RSA-OAEP, PBKDF2 and AES-KW support
WebCrypto: wrapKey and unwrapKey implemented
WebCrypto: Import/export of JWK-formatted keys
matches() DOM API implemented (formerlymozMatchesSelector())
Performance.now() for workers implemented
WebCrypto: ECDH support
Support for the ECMAScript 6 Symbol data type added

Fixed:

CSS transitions start correctly when started at the same time as changes to display, position, overflow, and similar properties

If you would like to download or update your copy of the Firefox Beta app for Android – click the source link below. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code using your smartphone’s camera.

qr code

Play Store Download Link

Come comment on this article: Firefox Beta update brings ‘tab casting’ & more!

Watch videos from Firefox for Android on your TV

Posted by wicked October - 15 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Sending content from any mobile device to your TV is possible with Chromecast or Roku. Another way is to use Firefox for Android to view content from your smartphone or tablet straight to your TV as long as they are supported.

Mozzila recently introduced this new feature that lets you send videos from Firefox for Android directly to the supported TV via streaming. Of course, this setup would still need your Chromecast or Roku to work.

Do you want to show others you recent videos saved on your Android phone or tablet? Send videos to your TV with a single click. Want to share a video from a website? Play the video and click on ‘send to device’ icon. The video will then automatically show on the supported TV.

When you hit ‘send to device’ icon found on the video playback controls and URL bar on the screen, a list of devices connected to Chromecast or Roku will be displayed. Only the devices connected to the same WiFi network you are in will show. Select the device you want to use to send your video to.

As long as devices are connected to the WiFi network, you can send any content to another device whether in your living room, kitchen, or just about anywhere within the range. You can play, pause, or close any videos showing from the Media Control Bar found in the Firefox for Android browser. You can still browse Firefox and use or change tabs while videos are streaming.

Make sure you have Firefox for Android first before you can use this feature. Download app from the Google Play Store.

SOURCE: Mozilla

Firefox Mobile update: customizable language, home screen

Posted by wicked September - 3 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Since more and more people access the Internet through their smartphones and tablets, mobile browsers are now in a race to capture the users’ loyalty. While most people prefer the ubiquitous Chrome or Opera or even their smartphones’ built-in browser (although why you would do that is a mystery), the Firefox for Android has been making strides to vastly improve its mobile browser. The latest update brings more customizable features and better access to clear history.

Firefox now has 55 languages available for its mobile browser and they are making it easier for you to switch between them, if you are a bilingual or multi-lingual user. You can switch from one language to another as often as you want, wherever you are, without having to restart your browser every time. Some new languages supported from the new update are Armenian, Basque, Fulah, Icelandic, Scottish, Gaelic and Welsh. You can also now have home screen pages on your Firefox for Android so you can easily customize which sites, services or feeds you can have easy access to. So if you want that the first thing you see on your mobile browser is your Instagram, Twitter, Feedly, Pinterest or Zite, then you can just add them to your home screen.

ES-language

You also now have easier access to your clear history option, if you don’t want other people to see what you’ve been browsing (naughty, naughty!). There is a clear browsing history option at the bottom of your History home screen page and you can click on it at the end of your session. Firefox Sync will also now work with the mobile browser, so all your bookmarks, passwords and open tabs can be accessed across all devices, as long as you’ve set it up to sync.

Clear-History-EN-US-UK

Of course there are still the usual complaints about Firefox, when it comes to crashing and the usual bug errors. But if you feel like giving their mobile browser a try, you can download it for free from the Google Play Store. The updates are still slowly rolling out, so you might not have the features mentioned above when you’ve just installed it in your device.

SOURCE: Mozilla

5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Google Play Weekly

Posted by wicked August - 22 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off


We have a lot of stuff to cover so let’s get right into it! First up, an awesome new wallpaper app came out that helps show off the awesome Material Design. An adult entertainer application was announced which brings strippers and clients together like Uber does. A judge in Brazil has ordered Google and Apple to remove Secret, an anonymous application where people tell secrets, from users’ phones. Firefox will probably be getting Chromecast support soon. There’s a new Sega Humble Bundle that came with some awesome changes to the Humble Bundle website. Finally, Google Drive and Google sheets got updates that add some new features and improve performance. Now let’s check out five Android apps that made a big splash this week.


Ignore No More Android appsIgnore No More

[Price: $1.99]
Ignore No More is an app that made waves this week because it was developed by a housewife who got sick of her kids not returning her calls. The premise is easy, you have a parent account and you can add your kids as child accounts. If you try to get a hold of them and they don’t answer, you can remotely lock their phone until they call you back. It’s a great tool for parents but kids are probably not going to like it so much.
Get it on Google Play
Android apps Ignore No More


Surgeon Simulator Android appsSurgeon Simulator

[Price: $5.99]
Surgeon Simulator is a game that’s new on Android but an old favorite on PC. In this game you play a surgeon who must perform operations on people in the line of general medicine and dentistry. You essentially just perform the surgery while keeping the patient alive. However, thanks to the loose game play, you can have some macabre fun with this game. It’s a tad expensive but it’s pretty fun.
Get it on Google Play


OneNote Android appsOneNote

[Price: Free]
Microsoft OneNote received a pretty substantial update this last week that includes new handwriting recognition and a tablet optimized UI. The handwriting recognition is a fun feature and you can write with a stylus or your finger but by far the more interesting part is the tablet UI because one common complaint with Microsoft apps are their lack of tablet support. Here’s hoping this translates to more in the future.
Get it on Google Play


Swing Copters Android appsSwing Copters

[Price: Free / $0.99]
Swing Copters is the spiritual successor to the wildly popular Flappy Bird game that was made popular and subsequently killed off earlier this year. If you were hoping for something different, you’re going to be disappointed but if you were hoping for pretty much the same thing but horizontal instead of vertical, you’re going to love this game. There’s a free and paid version but otherwise what you see is pretty much what you get.
Get it on Google Play


Blur Launcher icon Android appsBlur – A Launcher Replacement

[Price: Free with in app purchases]
Last up this week is Blur. Blur is a launcher from the makers of EvolveSMS and Talon for Twitter that offers a Google Now Launcher style experience but without Google Now. Instead, developers can create custom pages for their applications and when users swipe to one side, their pages will show up along with everyone else’s. It’s definitely a neat premise and you can check it out for free right now.
Get it on Google Play

Firefox Nightly App for Android Updated, Receives Chromecast Support

Posted by Tim-o-tato August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

Users of Firefox have something to be happy about, as the nightly build for the web browsing application has received Chromecast support. Since it is a nightly build, users of the official release build in Google Play can’t access the feature, but with it being baked into test builds, it is undoubtedly coming soon to all users. 

Much like on Chrome, when you begin playback of a video, a Cast button will appear in the bottom corner of the video. From there, you simply select which Chromecast you want to send the video to, and boom, it’s casting.

To check out casting through Firefox in action, hit up Mozilla’s test site here on your mobile device with the Firefox nightly build installed.

Firefox Nightly Download Link

Via: +Lucas Rocha

Firefox Nightly App for Android Updated, Receives Chromecast Support is a post from: Droid Life

Firefox Nightly for Android introduces Chromecast support

Posted by wicked August - 19 - 2014 - Tuesday Comments Off

ANDROID-FIREFOX

There is a large and still rapidly expanding list of Android apps that support Chromecast, one of the newest to hit the list is Mozilla’s Firefox for Android. You’ll need to use the Nightly build version of Firefox for now, but you’ll be able to toss your favorite content to your Chromecast connected big screen.

Mozilla engineer Lucas Rocha took to Google+ to share the news, showing off a video casting test page with a few embedded videos ready for your casting pleasure.

Firefox for Android Chromecast Support screenshot

It was only a couple months ago we got word of a Mozilla built/commissioned Chromecast competing Netcast, designed to do everything the Chromecast can do and more. While I didn’t hesitate to belittle the unit for using the same YouTube.com/TV interface that is accessible from any web browser, we have not seen anything more on the device yet to prove me wrong about any limitations that it may have.

With their own dedicated streaming stick in the works, it may be a bit of a surprise that Mozilla took the time to build Chromecast support into Firefox. Perhaps Google, having unveiled device mirroring with Chromecast, created a setback for Mozilla’s objectives, or perhaps Mozilla plans to use much of the same Chromecast protocols and techniques for their own unit, thus, baking casting abilities into their browser will satisfy the Netcast as well.

 Firefox Nightly Build

To get in on the fun, head on over to Mozilla’s Firefox nightly page and grab up your version of Firefox for Android. You could then use Mozilla’s casting test page, or you could load our latest video reviews on your new Firefox install on Android. Either way, watch for the Google Cast icon and fire that video up to the big screen.

What do you think, should Firefox’s Chromecast support stay in the Nightly build, or should it hurry up and graduate to stable release?


Via: Android Police;

Newest Mozilla Firefox nightly adds experimental Chromecast support

Posted by wicked August - 18 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

FireFox-on-Android

Users of the Mozilla’s Firefox for Android should head over to Firefox’s nightly page and grab the newest update which brings Chromecast support to the popular third-party browser. With the update users can navigate to tools > mirror screen in the browser’s settings to cast tabs and videos to Google’s handy streaming stick. As previously mentioned, this is a nightly build and therefore an experimental feature. Head over to Firefox’s download page to grab the update and let us know in the comments how it works.

Source: +Lucas Rocha

Come comment on this article: Newest Mozilla Firefox nightly adds experimental Chromecast support

Firefox Beta gets new tab panels, easy language switch

Posted by wicked July - 25 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

Chrome isn’t the only one getting a Beta makeover. Mozilla has just revealed the latest version of Firefox Beta for Android and it has two new features that are definitely boast-worthy. Users can now customize new tab pages with their choice of panels and can now switch the browser’s language on the fly without having to change the entire device’s language settings.

Home screen pages bring a dash of personalization to Firefox on Android. These pages, or rather panels, can offer dynamic content suited to a user’s preferences. You might already be familiar with those panels, as the the History, Top Sites, Bookmarks and Reading List are some of those. Now you can also add more via the Firefox Add-ons market. These range from panels that display your Pocket reading list to Goal.com footie scores to an Instragram photo wall. But more than just adding them, you can reorder them and even choose which one to use as the default panel when you start Firefox or open a new tab. All these via the Customize options in the Settings menu.

Language switching is also a lot easier now. Previously, to use Firefox in another language, you’d have to dig into Android’s own Language settings and change the language there, which would, of course, affect the whole device. Now you don’t have to if you just need to take a quick peek at another locale. Simply go to Firefox’s settings and Language options. Fast, easy, and worry-free. Note that this language switching only applies to the user interface and doesn’t translate the web page, of course.

These new features are coming via the latest Firefox Beta for Android update, rolling out to users in the usual staggered fashion. Home panels can be added to Firefox by visiting the link below from your smartphone or tablet. Do note that they are marked as experimental. In addition to these new user features, Mozilla is also announcing a fresh new set of APIs that will let other developers create their own home screen pages.

SOURCE: Mozilla (Add-ons)