So far Mozilla hasn't had much success with their Firefox Mobile for Android. But from what we see today, things may be about to change soon. Mozilla is previewing their new UI for the tablet version of Firefox Mobile, which looks exactly how a tablet browser should look like. Let's see why I think it's so great.
Brilliant tab experience
The multi-tab browsing experience has always been pretty awful. The only decent one that I've found was Opera Mini's tab interface, which I still think should come to all phone browsers. The Honeycomb browser was an improvement over the stock Android browser, and also an improvement over the iPad browser, with tabs at the top, just like on the desktop. But that still didn't make much sense to me from a usability point of view. You still need to use another hand from the one holding the tablet, to switch between tablets. It's an extra effort that shouldn't be there.
This is what Firefox tablet browser will be fixing. I'm not entirely sure if they are taking advantage of Honeycomb's multi-tasking system there, or of Honeycomb's fragments, by just showing a side pane, and their tabs in there. Either way, the browsing experience should be much smoother now because of the quick access to all your tabs with just your left thumb, when in landscape mode.
In portrait mode, they put the tabs at the top, probably because they want to save space when viewing the page, but this still brings us to the original problem of having the tabs at the top on tablets and phones. What I'd like to see is either Mozilla, or Google allowing for the tabs to appear on the side, but be like a temporary transparent overlay on top of the content. This way you could use the tabs just as quickly, but without making the viewing space even narrower.
Many Firefox users love Firefox's Awesomebar and they couldn't live with out it. So Mozilla is bringing the awesome bar to their tablet browser as well. You get quick access to bookmarks, history, and your synced desktop activity.
Mozilla wants you to still recognize when you are using their own browser, so they've kept some of their design elements to help distinguish it from the other browsers and offer you a similar experience to the one on the desktop, while trying to take advantage of Honeycomb's minimalistic UI in the same time.
The only question I have right now after seeing Firefox's new UI, is why hasn't Google thought about this first? After all they designed Honeycomb. I don't care if they'll be scolded for copying Firefox later, but Google has to implement something similar, too, in the Android 4.0 browser. If they manage to squeeze it in there in time for the launch, people might not even accuse them of that, because they'll think they were working on it for a while. And truth be told, Chrome already has a sidebar tab mode in it, but you have to activate it.