Mozilla has released a new beta of Firefox for Android which includes a major overhaul of the user interface. For the first time Firefox Mobile now includes a new user interface that uses Android design elements and support for Adobe Flash.
You can download Firefox Mobile 14 beta for Android from the Google Play Store. It requires Android 2.2 or higher, but while I was able to install it on my Google Nexus One smartphone, the latest version available for my Android 4.0 tablets was Firefox Mobile 13.
Firefox for Android has supported browser tabs, add-ons, and other features for a while. But this is the first version that supports Adobe Flash… which is kind of a sad feature to add at this point, since Adobe has already decided to sunset its Flash for mobile project.
There are other reasons to check out the new beta though. There’s a slick new UI that lets you switch between browser tabs by tapping the number icon at the top of the screen. There’s a new start page that shows thumbnail icons for the sites you visit most often, as well as links to the pages that were open the last time you closed the browser.
Firefox still tends to load most web pages more slowly on my phone than browsers that use the Webkit rendering engine such as Dolphin Browser HD or the default Android browser. But it’s much faster than it used to be, and if you’re a desktop Firefox user you can synchronize your bookmarks, history, tabs and other items with the mobile browser which is a pretty good reason to use it anyway.