Fennec Alpha 1 for Windows Mobile

We are pleased to announce that Fennec Alpha 1 for Windows Mobile 6 is available for download by developers and testers. This is an early developer release intended for testing purposes only. We would like to invite interested Windows Mobile developers and users to join with Mozilla’s developer and user community to help develop, test and refine the product.

Since we started getting Fennec compiling on Windows Mobile a few months ago, we’ve made good progress:

  • JeMalloc, the memory management library developed by Jason Evans and used by Firefox, has been ported to Windows CE and turned on for Fennec. This allows Fennec to manage memory much more efficiently.
  • Fennec’s user interface controls have been rebuilt to be entirely CSS based. This will allow us to more easily adjust our UI for various screen sizes and resolutions in the future. Its also demonstrates how web technologies can be used to create compelling user interfaces. The look and feel will continue to evolve as we develop the product, but this release should give uses a sense of the direction its going in.
  • Finally, this release also supports Add-ons. Add-ons are integral to promoting openness and innovation on the web and are unique to Fennec in the mobile space. Its been amazing to see how many great Add-ons have popped up already. Take for instance the gestures module created by Felipe .

As with previous releases, Madhava Enros has created a video walk through of this release.


This release has been targeted and tested on the HTC Touch Pro. We will be adding support for more devices in future releases. To install on your device, you can either navigate to this cab installer from your phone’s current browser or download it to your desktop and copy it to your device via ActiveSync. Once on your device simply click on the cab and it will install to your device. For more detailed installation instructions, look here and of course, please read the release notes.

Again, please note that some carriers filter web traffic to prevent their users from downloading cab files. If downloading the cab simply hangs or you get a message reading “This page contains erros and cannot be displayed,” this is probably what’s happening. In this case you will either need to be connected via WiFi or use the ActiveSync method.

The first time you run Fennec it will spend some time creating your profile. This may take a minute or two, please be patient.

Known Issues

It is not yet recommended to use this release for daily browsing tasks. Certain performance problems will become immediately apparent to the user. Panning has a noticeable delay between the user first touching the page and the page moving. We are certain that other less obvious bugs exist and we invite you to help bring them to light. You can find detailed information on how to file a good bug in bugzilla , our bug tracking system, here .

Looking Forward

Following the same path we took on Maemo, where the browser now performs quite well, development will now focus on performance improvements. There are known and suspected performance hot spots that need to be investigated and optimized. There are very talented people working on the core Mozilla platform who will continue to speed up things like JavaScript, graphics and the DOM. We are excited about a set of optimizations for drawing that take advantage of graphics processors, which will help Fennec’s graphics performance (i.e. panning and zooming). We are also looking at enhancements to our networking layer to optimize for high latency networks.

Now that we have gotten to this point, the fun really begins. If you would like to help us by testing or developing the product, please visit the Mobile Firefox wiki . There you will find some information that we hope is useful in helping you find where to “plug in” to the effort. As always, you can find us on irc in the #mobile channel .

The Conversation {35 comments}

  1. Jigar Shah {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 9:58 am}

    Superb..Looking for HTC non-keyboard models. Tough pro is expensive πŸ™‚

  2. JBundyLive {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 12:06 pm}

    What are the recommended mobile device specs?

  3. david {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 12:11 pm}

    Where’s the install? Is there still a full windows version available to play with?

  4. Mariusz Wiloch {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 12:33 pm}

    Super! I was waiting for this πŸ™‚ I always use firefox on my PC and I want to use it on my PDA too πŸ™‚ ….. testing!

  5. Mithgol the Webmaster {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 1:19 pm}

    Are there Fennec for Windows Mobile 5 in your plans or the users of WM5 should better go buy a WM6 device if they want Fennec?

  6. Brandon Miniman {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 1:23 pm}

    Hey – how can I contact the author of this post?


  7. blassey {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 1:29 pm}

    @Jigar One of our testers is using a Touch Diamond and is reporting good results

    @JBundyLive We don’t have recommended specs at the moment. The release is targeted at the Touch Pro because that is what the developers are using to test. If you try it on something else please leave a comment to tell us how it goes (and file bugs on anything that’s broken).

    @david The installer is linked to from the post. The desktop build are linked to from the release notes

    @Mithgol No immediate plans, but I don’t see any major hurdles besides the capabilities of the devices running WM5.

    @Brandon You just did.

  8. Naidep {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 2:07 pm}

    Can you post an Acid3 screenshot in windows mobile?
    “The last reported score on a Windows Mobile device with a fennec build was 88/100.”

  9. Andy {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 3:54 pm}

    Testing on athena 7500 and 7510, will report bugs when I find ’em πŸ™‚

  10. blassey {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 4:47 pm}

    @Naidep 92/100 I’ll skip the rant about how meaningless the acid test is this time. http://people.mozilla.com/~blassey/wm-screenshots/acid.png

  11. sam {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 4:49 pm}

    where is this for the blackberry?

  12. jimmur {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 5:30 pm}

    Too slow to load and run, not worth the download time

  13. Fabio FZero {Friday May 15, 2009 @ 9:23 pm}

    I’ve tried to use Fennec on my N800.

    The only thing the comes to mind every time I try to use it is “how can a software suck so damn much?”. It has to get much better to be considered bad.

    It’s not even good enough to be considered alpha quality on Maemo. I sincerely hope this port fares better, but I doubt it.

  14. rozim {Saturday May 16, 2009 @ 9:43 am}

    it is mean i have to anticipate to use nokia n800 for using mozilla fennec

  15. anthonyj {Saturday May 16, 2009 @ 9:53 am}

    I was always looking for a different web experience then what opera offered on my touch pro. I am having difficulty zooming in and to a bigger size text for my screen. Hopefully in the future as this continues to improve it takes advantage of the accelometer.

  16. PDA {Saturday May 16, 2009 @ 2:01 pm}

    there is not, for now πŸ™

  17. HΓ©ctor {Sunday May 17, 2009 @ 2:45 am}

    Hi, that Acid3 test results looks great!!!

    By the way, the program doesn’t load on my HTC 6800 (I think it’s because the low RAM available in this device, it has only 64 RAM, but “in real life” it only has about 15 to 20 free MB to run applications), I tried too many times to load this version of Fennec, but I had succes only one time (it showed to me a blackscreen with an address bar and what I think is a “go” button).

    Also, the installation seems to take a load of MB’s. Please, if you could improve the app to load in old devices (or at least, in devices with less than 64 MB’s but running WinMo 6/6.1) would be really great, I have to say that Opera Mobile is good as it is actually running on my phone but I think they are forgetting to optimize their app for users with low-ram based devices.

    Thanks for your time and I’m sure Fennec will be a great app for the WinMo platform in the near future.

  18. wyman0210 {Sunday May 17, 2009 @ 7:14 am}

    can it run at wince 6 ??

    if meizu m8 can use it , i will not use opera !!!!

  19. Paul Hampson {Monday May 18, 2009 @ 8:05 am}

    Doesn’t work on my HP Ipaq 214.
    Most of the time i fails to open and shows a “Couldn’t load XPCOM” message. On the rare occasion it has opened it does loads a window that seems to be missing all toolbars.

    Even as a Alpha this is a complete fail.

  20. blassey {Monday May 18, 2009 @ 8:19 am}

    @sam The Blackberry SDK is Java based and Mozilla’s source code is all C/C++. We would either need RIM to release a native SDK or for them to pick up the porting effort themselves to get on Blackberry’s.

    @Hector The only way we could run in that little memory space would be to use XIP (execute in place) to avoid loading our binaries in memory. I doubt we would ever do this, though, because it would severely limit our ability to release security updates.

    @wyman0210 This release will not run on wince 6 since it links against Windows Mobile binaries. We do build and run on wince 6 though. I believe there are plans to set up a wince 6 build bot, which would produce nightlies. I’m not aware of any plans to officially release those binaries though.

    @Paul It sounds like you have an incomplete install. Perhaps your phone ran out of “disk” space during the install. If that’s the case, you should have seen an error message at that time.

  21. Morten Piil {Monday May 18, 2009 @ 9:12 am}

    Got it installed on my Eten Glofiish X610 with english WM6.
    Got a “Couldn’t load XPCOM” message – rebooted the phone, and then Fennec could run.
    It runs very slow. The phone only has 64 MB’s of RAM maybe that’s why it’s so slow?
    It also seems as though it can’t access pages via https, saying That I need to download some stuff, but it’s not clear what or how?
    After playing with it for about 10 minutes the main window got garbled, though I could still access the menus by scrolling to the sides.

  22. Daniel Hunt {Monday May 18, 2009 @ 10:15 am}

    Tested on a HTC Touch HD (also known as BlackStone) and it’s incredibly slow to render pages. It shows great promise, but is near enough to unuseable in its current form. CSS/JS support is *very* impressive so far

    Really looking forward to the next version though. Best of luck guys.

  23. Daniel Hunt {Monday May 18, 2009 @ 11:01 am}

    Probably should’ve mentioned that I’m running WM 6.5

  24. Adam Lynch {Monday May 18, 2009 @ 12:39 pm}

    Works on a Samsung Omnia (Verizon).

    Slow to load, but loads nonetheless.

  25. Cuzlion {Monday May 18, 2009 @ 1:16 pm}

    Using the CDMA Alltel Touch Pro. This is just not ready yet. Verrrry slow and seems to cause some screen artifacting on the WM 6.1 OS even after you exit the program. Hard to believe you’ve been testing it on a Touch Pro unless there is a problem with the Alltel version vs. the non-contract GSM version of the phone. It is not Alpha level yet on my phone. Cuz

  26. anger {Tuesday May 19, 2009 @ 9:55 pm}

    Maybe try i-mate kjar really cool!!!

  27. taz.one {Wednesday May 20, 2009 @ 8:47 am}

    very promising but it lacks a virtual keyboard
    to touch the phone


    translation of my text with “http://translate.google.fr”

  28. Duv {Wednesday May 20, 2009 @ 12:09 pm}

    Ok, I was wondering if it is possible to port something like Fennec Alpha 1 to the Android platform. If memory serves me, I think there is a C compiler on Android currently… I could help out in finding the details into such.

  29. yeyang {Thursday May 21, 2009 @ 7:27 pm}

    good cool

  30. jasonlee {Friday May 22, 2009 @ 4:32 am}

    I think that the browser will be a greate software on mobile phone in the future.

  31. jasonlee {Friday May 22, 2009 @ 4:32 am}

    I think that the browser will be a greate software on mobile phone in the future!

  32. David P. Evers {Friday May 22, 2009 @ 10:07 am}

    On an HTC Athena (x7501) running WM 6.0, won’t run. Receiving message from XULRunner, “Couldn’t load XPCOM”.

    Installation was supposedly successful both times I tried it, once to internal memory and once to Microdrive. I tried without and then with a reset after each installation.

  33. Iain Record {Thursday May 28, 2009 @ 3:38 am}

    Installed easily. As with Firefox, it takes a little time to open up.
    Not had any problems so far, although I’ve not done much.
    Just glad I don’t have to use Opera any more, hopefully HTC will include this a it’s default instead.
    Running on HTC Touch Pro.

  34. Scraggy {Friday May 29, 2009 @ 3:57 am}

    I can confirm that this build doesn’t open on an Acer N311 (WM5)… Still hoping.

  35. Ψ΄Ψ§Ψͺ {Tuesday June 9, 2009 @ 10:17 pm}

    I think that the browser will be a greate software on mobile phone in the future

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.