[Update 2: Public Preview] Mozilla outlines its plan to transition users from Firefox for Android to Fenix Browser
Google Chrome is the most popular browser on the planet for both desktop and mobile. That is especially the case on Android where Chrome dominates by a large margin. Firefox has been around on the platform for a while and Mozilla has overhauled it several times to try to stay relevant. The next big change comes in the form of a completely new browser called Fenix.
This news isn’t unexpected. Last Summer, Mozilla announced that Firefox for Android had entered the maintenance phase as the team began work on a new browser. That new browser is Fenix. A support document outlines Mozilla’s plans for Firefox and Fenix. Firefox for Android will continue to receive legacy updates until Fenix reaches “migration readiness status.”
After the release of version 68 (July 9, 2019), Firefox for Android will move to the Extended Support Release (ESR) branch, which will be the end of feature updates. Moving the browser to ESR will allow Mozilla to maintain it with minimal effort while they work on Fenix. There was no specific timeline given for the release of Fenix.
The document mentioned 2020 as the end of life for Firefox for Android. Fenix is currently in the alpha stages of testing and it recently got a dark theme. If you’re interested in trying out the latest version of the browser, download the Firefox Preview nightly builds here. In the meantime, Firefox will continue to get security updates and it will remain functional.
Update 1: Now in Play Store
Firefox Preview builds were previously only available to sideload, but now Mozilla has graduated it to the Play Store. This is called a “beta,” but it’s really a nightly release. To install the app from the Play Store, you must first join the Fenix Nightly Google Group. From there you will be asked to opt into the beta, which will then allow you to access the Play Store listing. Bug reporting can be done on Mozilla’s BugHunter event. If you just want to try the app and don’t care about the updates, you can check it out at APK Mirror.
Update 2: Public Preview
Mozilla has been slowly allowing more and more people to test out the big Firefox for Android revamp (Fenix). After opening up a limited beta last month, they are now ready for a Public Preview. Anyone can download the preview from the Play Store listing below.
This version continues to build upon the previously announced features. The browser has many of the privacy-centric features from Firefox Focus built-in. Firefox Preview is powered by GeckoView, which is another thing from the Focus browser. The result is a faster, more efficient, and streamlined interface. The stable version is slated to be released later this year.