Mozilla has announced the new beta version of Firefox 4 Mobile is available for download on both Maemo and Android phones. The last version was a little rough, and the developers claim to have taken user suggestions to heart in this release. Among the improvements are a much reduced install size on Android devices (17MB instead of 43MB), improved text rendering, and lower memory usage. The app also supports app2sd storage on Froyo phones.
With features like slide out toolbars, Firefox Sync, and future hardware acceleration, Firefox Mobile could really be a great browser upon completion. If you have an N900, or high-end Android phone, check out the beta.
The first buile of the Intel/Nokia joint OS venture known as MeeGo is now available for download. The operating system will run on almost any Atom-based netbook as well as the Nokia N900, which currently runs Maemo. There is also support for the Moorsetown mobile Atom chips, but you probably don’t have one of those yet. You can download the netbook version right now and run it via a USB drive.
MeeGo promises to support the Qt development framework, which is a cross-platform development interface that makes it much easier for developers to port their work to other platforms. It’s still unclear if combining the lackluster reception of Intel Moblin and Nokia Maemo will result in a good product. This version isn’t going to settle anything either. It doesn’t have any of the UI elements you’d expect. In fact, it’s mostly just a command line.
MeeGo has potential due to its largely standardized Linux build. This is much the same in the case of Maemo, but MeeGo has the backing of tech giant Intel. We’re very interested to see where they take this platform. A 1.0 release of MeeGo is expected around May. So, anyone planning to run this preview build out of curiosity?
Eweek says that Linux will outpace Windows in mobile internet device (MID) market by 2013? Is it any wonder? Netbooks are catching on as a great way to check email and surf the web in out of the way places without having to lug a notebook with you. The netbook credo is cheap, light and small. Mobile internet device market is expected to grow from the expected 305,000 units in 2008, to 39.6 million units in 2012.
MIDs are targeted at cloud computing, which involves checking email, IM, browsing, etc. They do not require Windows to get that done and you don’t need the one thing that Windows brings to the table, which is a large library of software.
Eweek also suggests that another form of MID; smartphones are a market that Linux is going to make inroads into as well. Mobile Linux providers LiMo, Maemo and Moblin are laying out the groundwork now so they can be out front when the market takes off. There are several new phones for LiMo that look really interesting and are sure to shake things up.
In the mobile market things are almost even amongst mobile operating systems. Linux would seem to have an advantage since it is highly flexible, configurable, and has a huge following for developing open source software to expand the usability of these devices.
Will you be picking up an MID for your next gadget, and will it be sporting Linux or maybe you already have one? Fill us in!