Wow, it’s great to see how excited people are about getting Firefox running on their Android phones! We’ve made a bunch of progress in the past few weeks, and we’ve really ramped up development in the past few days, including bringing new folks onto the project.
We’ve done a bunch of stuff recently; Michael Wu has done some great work fixing issues with the soft keyboard support and cleaning up rotation behavior. He’s also done some more fun things like hooking up the accelerometer to the MozOrientation event. We’ve also experimented with a few different rendering approaches, moving from software rendering using private APIs, to using OpenGL, and then moving back to software, but without private APIs this time. (Turns out, for what we’re currently doing, non-GL rendering is crazyfast, though that will change once we get our hardware accelerated rendering system going on Android.)
There are still some bugs to fix before we’re comfortable letting people download nightly builds — for example, current and older development builds can lock up your phone, requiring killing the process from a debug terminal or rebooting. Those are the bugs that we’re spending all of our time on; we don’t want to have any kind of builds available until we think that our testers will have an acceptable experience (and locking up your phone isn’t acceptable!).
Having nightly builds available and getting some feedback is an important step before we can even consider releasing an alpha version. I’m also working (right now, in fact, while writing this post — waiting for a build to finish!) on getting Weave ready to be used with our first nightlies, because having your Firefox history and bookmarks synced onto your phone is pretty fantastic.
Here’s a quick video I took yesterday of using Fennec on a Nexus One:
Last but not least, we’re getting very close to moving all the patches and changes we have in flight (some in various repos, some just sitting on our computers) checked in to mozilla-central, so the Android work will be on the same platform that’s been seeing some fantastic improvements recently. Remember that about three months ago we had nothing working or even building on Android; now it’s getting ready to land on the trunk!