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Firefox 6 beta unfurls in Android Market, tweaked for tablets, allows for install to SD

Firefox 5 barely opened its eyes in the Android Market and then we get this update to the Firefox 6 beta.

We’ve spent the weekend messing around with it on our Nexus S and already prefer how this looks and feels compared to Firefox 5. The most noticeable change is that everything’s that little bit smoother. Zooming in and out of web pages is less jagged and pixellated than it was before and page loading times are noticeably faster as well.

It’s still not as slick as the stock browser in our opinion and it’s still not compatible with Flash Player. It’s also a rather whopping 14.35MB in size so it’s not exactly slim. Thankfully, there’s an install to SD option.

The release notes say that work has gone in to refining the UI, with the new look optimised for phones running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The notes also say that there are improvements for large-screen tablets, by adjusting font sizes accordingly, though we’ve not yet been able to try this out yet.

Despite this, we love the general navigation experience of Firefox on Android phones. Being able to nudge left and right to access discreet toolbars is a great idea; it stops web pages from becoming crowded over with ugly menus when you want to go back/forwards or hop to another tab.

We hope that eventually it’ll be able to match or come close to the speed of the stock Android browser – which at the end of the day is what really counts.

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