Mozilla is in weird position. Two years ago everyone loved them and their browser and if you didn’t use Firefox then people looked at you like you were a 40 year old man dressing up as 13 year girl eating an ice cream cone in the middle of a winter snow storm. But then Google came out with Chrome and totally changed the market. If you’re not using Chrome, you’re seriously missing out. With that in mind, Mozilla’s fight for relevancy starts today with their first beta release of Firefox for Mobile. It’s available for Google’s Android operating system and Nokia’s Maemo platform (in other words the N900). Being unable to test this application as I don’t have any Android devices on my desk, I’m relying on the short preview published by Ars.Technia who says that Firefox Mobile still isn’t as fast as the native WebKit browser. It’s also a monster, using 30 MB of storage when you install it and then an additional 15 MB once you first boot it up.
Speaking about bootup time, they say it takes about 15 seconds for the application to first launch and then after that it optimizes itself to launch in only 2 to 4 seconds. That’s disastrous. Google’s obsession with speed shows with Android, and if it’s paired with a high end device such as the recently launched T-Mobile G2 [HTC Desire Z] or the Nexus One then a lag time of a few seconds is highly unacceptable. Yea, you get features like Firefox Home and support for extensions (hello adblock!), but unless you’re a Mozilla fanboi there’s little reason to use this as your full time browser. By all means, install it and try it out. On all my computers I have all the major browsers installed just because I like to see how they’re progressing, but when it comes to getting things done … Google knows how to build the best browsers.