GLOBAL – The last couple of weeks have been good for Nokia N9 owners. Following the release of software update PR1.2, a new version of the Firefox Mobile browser has been released, plus a Flash Player from Nokia that works as a plug-in to the browser.
Firefox offers a web browsing experience that’s closer to browsing on your desktop than the built-in app. Complex, heavyweight pages render the same way they look on a full-size computer.
If you go to the front pages of CNN or MSN, for example, there won’t be many holes where your mobile browser wasn’t able to deal with the content. With the Flash Player add-on installed, you’ll be able to see the in-page videos used by many sites, or play games on sites like Kongregate.
This is definitely a reason to celebrate. But do you need it? Well, it’s a philosophical debate. You might be getting a closer rendition of what pages look like on the desktop, but whether that is a good thing or not is down to individual taste and needs.
For me, while it’s useful to be able to access the full version, it also highlights the continuing need for mobile versions (or graceful degradation/enhancement) of many websites.
The full-fat version of many websites don’t fit too well on a 3.9-inch screen. They’re also rather slow to download, especially using 3G. For most cases, I’ll continue with the built-in browser and RSS reader. It’s an app I’ll keep installed, though, for those times I need to look at sites that don’t work elsewhere.
Other Firefox features definitely impress, though. The browser supports multiple tabs which are shown off the left-hand side of the app. Off the right side of the screen are the forward, back, favourites and settings buttons. This clever use of off-screen space means that the content takes centre-stage and no screen real-estate is lost to UI elements.
The app also supports synchronisation with your Firefox account – this is the most useful part for me. All your bookmarks and passwords can be shared between your desktop and your phone. Amazingly, the browser also supports many of the add-ons that you’ll be familiar with from desktop versions.
Both apps are free, so give them a spin and let us know what you think. Install Firefox first and afterwards Flash Player. If you have previous versions of the Firefox browser, then you should uninstall it first.