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by Mountaineerbr

#37 - Firefox on Mobile (Android)

Firefox for mobiles worked fine on my mobile phone, an Android 8.1. However, as time passed by, new Firefox (FF) updates made it behave in an unstable manner.

New features were welcome, such as that which allowed to send URLs from my Desktop Firefox to my Mobile Firefox through my Firefox account. For a period of time, sending a tab would not take 10 or 20 seconds before hitting my mobile Firefox or vice-versa. But this feature soon degraded and now it takes hours or even a whole day..

But that is fine really. There is another workflow for sharing URLs which I used for a long time, just fire up my e-mail console and send myself an e-mail with the URL.

However, Firefox for mobile became really weird as updates went on in the last 3 years. One of the first things that really turned me off was that FF would not load a webpage and would show a completely empty page instead. Or, it would load the page all right and suddenly the rendering would brake and the page would go blank.

Some versions ago, FF updates (from Android Google Play Store) made FF to freeze some tabs and sometimes even crash, requiring a restart and closing the affecting tab to prevent freezing as soon as possible.

Now, pages going blank are more rare (but still happens sometimes) but tab freezing and crashing have become rather common and, as I said, sending tabs to other devices take hours so I rarely use it.

FF and Chrome dropped their HTML inspecting tools. Chrome and Opera can at least still view-source: of an URL. As a small web developer, it is great to check out other people HTML code.

This is why I am trying new mobile browser and all of them suck!

There is Opera, which I found to be really fast, sleek and with somewhat an older design that I am used to. Opera 62 did not turn to the Tabbing Madhouses of Firefox 87 and Chrome 89, yet. I don’t like the multiple tabs view of neither FF nor Chrome, because those 3D layouts confuse me. Currently, I use some old glasses and I haven’t got the sharpest vision.

Opera multiple tab view is 2D, scrolls horizontally and pretty much straight forwards. Chrome multiple tabs view is 3D and scrolls vertically, whereas FF has got an alternative 2D layout but has double columns and scrolls vertically, too. FF and Chrome layouts get really confusing because sometimes there are 30 or more open tabs and I am never sure where all the tabs are..

Chrome has gone one step further and enabled a Open Tab in Group function, which predated the Open in New Tab, which I use a lot. Fortunately, there is a way to disable this new functionality and just open links in new tabs..

Recently, with all three browsers open, doing some research using Android multitasking feature which splits the screen in two, I could not find my tab with important text I was studying.. That really blew away my focusing, which in a mobile operating system is much limited, and I had to quit research a couple of times, lost in the middle of a train of thought. Later I discovered that Android multitasking and window overview may not show Firefox window!

I am not sure if that is FF mobile dev team who is screwing the code up or Android code is kind of meant to fuck with other web browser competitors..

I cannot use Opera only because of my FF and Chrome key rings, but I am trying to use it more often (it is already my defaults browser on Android). Also, multitasking on Android requires using more than one web browser, even though Chrome can open tabs in new Windows, FF and Opera generally cannot.

Sometimes I think of just giving up and using Chrome on Android. Sometimes that is the only web browser that will work..

Opera is not a saint and it collects plenty telemetry, so it is not better than FF in that respect, at least.

Another mobile web browser I will be checking out is Vivaldi.