For my first review I'd like to start with something everyone uses, the browser. Many people use the default browser without even looking if ther is anything else. The truth is, there are more browsers out there than I'd care to even try to list in a single post. Instead I'm going to choose just a few of my favorites. Here is a list of the ones I will cover over the next two weeks:
If you have any others that you'd like me to cover that aren't listed above, our if you have another Android app that you REALLY like and want me to cover it post them in the comments here or on any of the following reviews and I'll see what I can do.
First up, Mozilla Firefox Mobile, I'll try to do this without getting too technical. I prefer Firefox Mobile for everyday web browsing because I like how websites feel in it better than how they feel in the stock browser. Also, it allows me to sync usernames, passwords and bookmarks with my computers, one thing at a time though. Like the desktop version of Firefox, Firefox Mobile is based on the Gecko HTML Layout Engine, this is most of what gives websites a different feel than they would have in the stock browser's Webkit Layout Engine . One main difference between these is zooming. Zooming in Webkit zooms in on the midpoint of where your fingers first started. Gecko moves the points you click on to where you drag them.
I mentioned before, Firefox Mobile syncs your user names, passwords, bookmarks, even your history and open tabs! Now, I don't use either of the last two, mostly because my wife is a stay at home mom so if she were to get online out history and open tabs gets all jacked up! However, the first three I do use, and use constantly.
Setting up Sync is rather easy, that is assuming that you already use Firefox on your computer, if not, well, that's another post for another time. Anyway, I'm going to continue assuming you've already "upgraded" your desktop browser to Firefox and set up you Sync account. Setting up Sync on your mobile device is as easy as typing the 12 character code (found in the sync settings of Firefox Mobile) into the Add Device section of the Sync settings on your computer's Firefox.
Another great thing is the Awesome Screen, basically an awesome bar, which makes finding sites you've gone to before easy to find. When there is nothing typed into the bar it displays the sites you've visited will be listed ordered most to least visited. As you start typing it starts to guess what site you want based on your history. If there is nothing in your history that matches then it gives you options to search Google, Amazon, Twitter and Wikipedia. You can always search the mozilla addon site for more search engines too!
All this and I have not even started to talk about addons! My favorite is Phony which allows you to chose what type of device the websites think you are using, perfect for those sites which have annoying non-working mobile versions! Current options are: Default, Desktop Firefox, iPhone, iPad, Android (Nexus One), Android (Galaxy Tab) and Microsoft IE. The second one I use just about every day is Quit Firefox which allows you to completely close Firefox by closing out all the tabs.
The only problems I have with Firefox Mobile are that it takes a while to load and uses a good bit of memory (14MB according to my Droid X though the Beta that is also in the android market is only 13MB) so Android has a tendency to dump out from RAM when you switch to another app. Even at the hefty 14MB does make Firefox Mobile heavier than all the Webkit based browsers I'm going to review, Firefox is still well behind Opera Mobile (coming day 5)!! That being said, the stock browser takes longer to load now that I've been using Firefox as my default browser, and the features for me make the sluggish load time worth it to me. Also, although it has HTML5 video it lacks Flash which can be a pain at times. Lastly, you can't select/copy text from a web page... I'm not sure what's up with that because it seems to be in all the other browsers.
Overall as I said before I prefer Firefox Mobile over all the other android browsers I've used. Mostly because to me it just seems to let websites flow correctly more often than the others, add in Sync and tabs and it's a winner in my book!
~ The Geeky Farmer ~