A look at Firefox 4 beta 4 for Android

Mozilla on Wednesday released the fourth beta version of Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo mobile operating systems. The update fixes some compatibility and performance issues, and attempts to provide an overall faster browsing experience.

In the Mozilla Blog today, the team wrote "Our recent tests on JavaScript benchmarks show Firefox 4 Beta is faster than the stock Android browser; roughly three times faster on Kraken, about twice as fast on SunSpider and slightly faster on V8. Everything from start-up time and page load time to responsiveness and panning and zooming are snappy in this release. Other advancements in this release include increasing stability, reducing installation memory usage, improving readability with zooming, and fixing some keyboard issues."

Unfortunately, in the real world it doesn't appear to be quite all that grand. In our tests of the browser today, there were frequent crashes, periods of up to 30 seconds between button presses and their associated response, resulting in an overall poor experience at browsing the "full web" and a mediocre experience on mobile websites.

Since Firefox 4 for mobile launched in its first beta back in October, the main reasons to check out the browser were its support for Add-ons, and its syncability with desktop versions of Firefox. This remains true.

The browsing experience, though incrementally improved, still does not feel like it lives up to Android's native browser.

[UPDATE] Thanks to our astute readers, it was pointed out that I was running the test on an unsupported device. The reason for that is explained briefly in the updated video below.

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