PreFox: Firefox on your Pre 77
We haven’t often lamented the built-in web browser on our webOS phones, but in all truthfulness it is lacking in some areas and hasn’t evolved all that much since the initial release of webOS. With the appearance of default web browser selection (continually grayed out) in webOS, it became clear that Palm intends to open up the market to additional browsers. What we’re seeing now is among the first for webOS, and it’s called PreFox.
As the name would imply, it’s Firefox for your Pre. Specifically, it’s a port of Mozilla’s mobile-bound Fennec browser to webOS. Shoehorning it into the appropriate packing was a five month ordeal for developer Dave Townsend of Fractal Brew, and there’s still plenty of work to be done to make it fully useable. The developer notes that testing has only been done on Sprint Pre, and that it wasn’t until more recent releases of webOS (specifically the versions that support C and C++ coding) that it was even possible to make it work at all. There are still some bugs (notably the Too Many Cards error) to work out, but it does work.
Townsend notes that work on PreFox is slowing at this point due to the nature of finding and identifying bugs. To that end, a request for additional beta testers has been put out, with instructions for installation and bug reporting available at the PreFox website. PreFox is, of course, in rough beta form, so while it is functional, it’s not yet to the point of serving as a full replacement browser for your webOS device (it is very very slow and sometimes crash-prone). That said, it’s still plenty promising with tabs, rudimentary extension support, and more; we can’t help but be interested.