Mozilla is planning to release a Firefox browser for Android 3.0 tablets in the near future. Mozilla mobile device user experience designer Ian Barlow posted some mock-ups of the browser on his personal blog.
Firefox for Android smartphones has been available for some time now, first as a beta version and later as a full release. While that version will work on Android tablets as-is, you won’t get a rich experience doing so. With the phone version, Mozilla had to hide many of the UI elements to free up space on small screens. A larger tablet doesn’t have such restrictions, allowing them to bring back many of the popular features found on the desktop variant.
That is exactly what Mozilla is doing, with Barlow describing Firefox for tablets as an evolution of its phone based predecessor with some added enhancements to take advantage of a tablet’s larger screen size.
One new returning UI is tabs, which are largely hidden in the smartphone browser. On a tablet, tabs work in two ways. In landscape mode, tabs are visible on the left side of the screen in the form of small thumbnails of each open page. When rotated to portrait mode, the tabs are grouped into a drop-down style menu for increased usability.
The tablet version of Firefox is being crafted around Honeycomb's minimalist design, although Mozilla is still keeping some familiar elements in place like the oversized back button, Awesomebar URL entry field and distinctive tab shape.
As of writing there is no release date for the tablet version of Firefox.