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CTIA 2010

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Mozilla today showed us the latest build of its Firefox Mobile browser, aka Fennec. The newest version comes with some user interface improvements, as well as a new desktop sync feature Mozilla calls Weave Sync.

The most interesting advances come with the new Weave desktop sync. The Firefox Mobile browser can link to a desktop version of Firefox and synchronize not only bookmarks, but also an entire Web history, providing a more robust search feature to browse recently visited Web pages. Weave sync even synchronizes open tabs, so whatever pages are open in tabs on a desktop Firefox browser will be obvious and accessible on the mobile version.

Weave sync uses Firefox's own servers to login and transfer information from the desktop to the mobile side. Mozilla says the data is completely encrypted, so the company won't be monitoring your browsing history, and because of the open source nature of Mozilla companies will also be able to maintain their own server for Weave sync, instead of using Mozilla's own service.

On the interface side, Firefox for Mobile now features hidden menu areas on the sides of the browser window. Users can access the new thumbnails view for open windows by swiping the window to the right, and open a new navigation sidebar by swiping to the left. The URL bar also features some new search features, similar to what's available on the desktop version of Firefox. In addition to entering a Web address or searching Google, it's now possible to search Twitter or other popular services directly from the address bar's text field.

Mozilla also showed us an internal iPhone app built by the company's engineers. Mozilla won't be submitting a version of its browser to Apple for the iPhone, unlike Opera with the Opera Mini 5 browser. Instead, the iPhone app, which is not available through the App Store, uses Mozilla's Weave sync to pull bookmarks and a browsing history from a connected desktop Firefox app, and these links can then be opened using the iPhone's Safari browser.

Check out our video walkthrough of the new browser and the iPhone app in action:

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