Firefox Coming to Android Tuesday; No Flash

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The final version of Mozilla’s Firefox browser is en route to the Android Market on Tuesday morning, but for now it’s giving  the cold shoulder to Adobe Flash.

Mozilla confirmed to Computerworld that Flash won’t be part of  mobile Firefox, at least for now.

“For us, HTML5 and the open Web video standards are most important right now,” Thomas Arend, Mozilla’s principal product manager, said. “Flash is a reality, though — I’m aware that it’s there and it’s going to be around for a while — so we’re definitely looking into it and will look into enabling Flash plugins in a future version.”

If you’re impatient for the final release, you can try mobile Firefox’s release candidate right now. Some bugs may be fixed in the final version, but all the big features are intact. The browser aims to make tabbed browsing easy with a menu of open tabs that slides out from the side of the screen when you swipe to the right. It also syncs with the desktop version of Firefox, so you can transfer tabs, bookmarks and passwords between devices. And just like the desktop browser, mobile Firefox has a library of add-ons.

I like most of those concepts, but when I tried mobile Firefox a several months ago, I was turned off by the swipe-based menus for tabs and bookmarks. Some user reviews in the Android Market also complain of sluggishness, but I haven’t had a chance to try the latest version for myself. Fortunately, mobile Firefox is free, so you can check it out without worry. Just be sure to keep the stock Android browser handy for any Flash content that pops up.