Mozilla Moves to Replace Firefox with Fenix on Android

A Mozilla support document explains how the organization will phase out Firefox for Android this year and replace it with a new mobile browser. That browser, called Fenix, is completely new and is designed to overcome Firefox’s abysmally low usage on Android.

“The goal is to provide users with a secure and supported legacy Firefox for Android product until Fenix has reached migration readiness, while minimizing our ongoing support costs,” the Mozilla support document, which was first spotted by Ghacks, explains. “We will not be shipping new web platform features on mobile until Fenix ships.”

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From what I can tell, the current version of Firefox for Android is basically in maintenance mode, and will only be supported by bug fixes, until the new version, codenamed Fenix, is ready for public release. Mozilla intends to make that transition this year, and it will likely end support for the current Firefox for Android sometime in 2020.

Those interested in testing Fenix today will need to side-load it from the Taskcluster website as it’s not available from the Google Play Store.

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Conversation 15 comments

  • fishnet37222

    Premium Member
    27 April, 2019 - 2:52 pm

    <p>I don't have any problems with the current Firefox on Android. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      29 April, 2019 - 3:22 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#423726">In reply to fishnet37222:</a></em></blockquote><p>The web is an ever changing goalpost. Firefox (Fennic) isn't 100% web compatible (no browser is) and Mozilla is developing a new engine that should be more performant and more compliant. This is what they did on the desktop a while back as well.</p><p>To concentrate available resources on the new Fenix version, they are putting Fennic into long term support, so they aren't duplicating effort. This is fairly normal with most software products that change generations.</p>

  • ruvger

    Premium Member
    27 April, 2019 - 3:00 pm

    <p>First it was pocketcats and now its Firefox. What have I done to anger the app gods ?</p>

  • obarthelemy

    27 April, 2019 - 3:44 pm

    <p>I'm fine with Firefox on Android right now. </p><p>Unique selling proposition: it runs all addons, just like the Desktop version.</p><p>Issues: none, really.</p>

  • Dan1986ist

    Premium Member
    27 April, 2019 - 3:51 pm

    <p>Fenix sounds like this new browser app will rise from the ashes of Firefox for Android. Guessing that's what Mozilla intends with this code name.</p>

    • ubelhorj

      Premium Member
      27 April, 2019 - 6:41 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#423734">In reply to Dan1986ist:</a></em></blockquote><p>It's also a play on the code name they used while working on the original Firefox (Phoenix spelled normally). I'd almost forgotten they actually had another browser before Firefox.</p>

      • wright_is

        Premium Member
        29 April, 2019 - 3:19 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#423777">In reply to UbelhorJ:</a></em></blockquote><p>Firefox went though Phoenix and Firebird, both of which got shot down on trademark grounds, before they settled on Firefox.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      29 April, 2019 - 3:18 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#423734">In reply to Dan1986ist:</a></em></blockquote><p>Fenix is simply the next iteration of Firefox – the current Fennic version of Firefox is being put out to grass.</p><p>When Fenix is far enough along to be stable and feature complete, it will replace Fennic; at least that is my reading of the documents.</p><p>As they don't have enough developers to continue to evolve Fennic and develop the new Fenix version, they are putting Fennic in long term support, so that they only have to provide bug fixes and not evolve its feature set until the next (Fenix) version is finished.</p>

  • Winner

    27 April, 2019 - 5:59 pm

    <p>That's too bad as I use Firefox as my primary browser on Android. And it takes the full array of extensions, unlike Chrome.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      29 April, 2019 - 3:26 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#423761">In reply to Winner:</a></em></blockquote><p>And this will change because? Fenix is just the next iteration of Firefox, replacing the current Fennic branch. To optimize the available resources, Fennic will just get bug fixes going forward until Fenix replaces it, hopefully sometime in 2020.</p>

  • infloop

    Premium Member
    28 April, 2019 - 12:13 am

    <p>As someone who's played Blizzard games, seeing that name made my mind go to the Protoss character in StarCraft.</p>

  • ianhead

    28 April, 2019 - 1:55 am

    <p>I'm glad to see them taking the same tack with Firefox on Android as they have with the desktop. The current stable release is okay, but it's just so much slower than the competition…</p>

  • geoslake

    28 April, 2019 - 4:23 am

    <p>I'm using FF on the desktop but it's inconsistent for me on android, sometimes dead slow (eg amazon website) sometimes OK, but always much slower than Kiwi Browser, which handles chrome extensions. </p><p>Oh, and both can play youtube with screen off, which is essential to me. </p>

  • nevadah

    29 April, 2019 - 12:43 pm

    <p>There are two reasons I continue to use Firefox on Android:</p><p>1) Like with the desktop version, it's the only one of the major browsers not from a company with a vested interest in tracking me. The new Edge for Android is actually pretty nice, and I tend to trust MS more than Google (or rather distrust it less), but I tend to trust Mozilla more than either. And, since Firefox uses Quantum, whereas everyone else uses Chromium/Blink, there's no connection to Google at all.</p><p>2) It's the only one of the major browsers to support extensions. (Dolphin does, apparently, but currently its add-ons page is returning a 502 error.)</p>

  • bill_russell

    29 April, 2019 - 2:52 pm

    <p>I like Firefox Focus, not really because of the privacy focus but it just handles about any web page perfectly smooth, something I can't say for Chrome, and it doesn't seem to acomplish that simply by disabling javascript or something. I'm not sure how they do it.</p>

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