Firefox has finally landed on Android. Yes, there has been an Android version of Firefox for more than a year now. But the new Firefox 14 is not just a new version, it's a complete rewrite, which probably justifies it using the 14 version number when the latest desktop version is Firefox 13.
Mozilla knew that it needed to compete in the mobile market if it wanted to stay relevant. But Firefox for Android was slow, not the least because it used a custom UI, based on XUL, just like the desktop Firefox.
But XUL was not going to cut it, so Mozilla decided to scrap the older Firefox entirely and build a new one. It's now complete and ready for your browsing pleasure.
The new Firefox 14 for Android, which might as well be called Firefox 1.0, uses a native UI, which means it's as responsive as any other app.
What's more, everything but the core, Gecko, has been rebuilt. One of the big improvements that Mozilla touts is in speed.
Not only is the UI faster, the browsing itself is significantly better. In fact, Mozilla reckons it's got the fastest browser on Android at the moment and it's got several benchmark results to prove it. Panning, zooming or simply rendering web content is now faster than ever.
The new UI follows Mozilla's more recent design trends, but it doesn't go over the top, for the most part it's functional and snappy.
"The new Awesome Screen powered by Firefox Sync delivers all your browsing history, bookmarks, passwords and form data to your Android phone," Mozilla explained.
"We also optimized your favorite features like tabbed browsing, Firefox Sync and Firefox Add-ons to deliver the best mobile browsing experience possible," it added.
Another major addition is Flash, Firefox now supports the browser plugin across the board. That's actually a strange addition.
Mozilla is no friend of Flash, or any closed web technologies. What's more, Adobe abandoned Flash on mobile altogether. Google's Chrome for Android has no support for Flash and never will.
There are plenty of improvements under the hood as well; Mozilla is a big proponent and supporter of open web standards. Unless you're a developer, what you need to know is that most of what's online today will work in Firefox for Android, even the most experimental stuff.