PreFox: Firefox on your Pre

By Derek Kessler | Sunday, Sep 19, 2010 |

We havenít often lamented the built-in web browser on our webOS phones, but in all truthfulness it is lacking in some areas and hasnít evolved all that much since the initial release of webOS. With the appearance of default web browser selection (continually grayed out) in webOS, it became clear that Palm intends to open up the market to additional browsers. What weíre seeing now is among the first for webOS, and itís called PreFox.
As the name would imply, itís Firefox for your Pre. Specifically, itís a port of Mozillaís mobile-bound Fennec browser to webOS. Shoehorning it into the appropriate packing was a five month ordeal for developer Dave Townsend of Fractal Brew, and thereís still plenty of work to be done to make it fully useable. The developer notes that testing has only been done on Sprinticon Pre, and that it wasnít until more recent releases of webOS (specifically the versions that support C and C++ coding) that it was even possible to make it work at all. There are still some bugs (notably the Too Many Cards error) to work out, but it does work.
Townsend notes that work on PreFox is slowing at this point due to the nature of finding and identifying bugs. To that end, a request for additional beta testers has been put out, with instructions for installation and bug reporting available at the PreFox website. PreFox is, of course, in rough beta form, so while it is functional, itís not yet to the point of serving as a full replacement browser for your webOS device (it is very very slow and sometimes crash-prone). That said, itís still plenty promising with tabs, rudimentary extension support, and more; we canít help but be interested.
PreFox: Firefox on your Pre |