When I visited Mozilla's offices about 6 months ago, I saw a mobile testing station which included about 20-30 different phones lounging around, with their chargers plugged in. I knew something serious was coming soon. There were rumors about Firefox for Mobile for a while but nothing to really show for it. That was then…
Today, however, we know a lot more. Firefox for Mobile, codenamed Fennec, is coming next month (see More Info below) and looks very promising.
Here is a recent video of the Firefox's mobile and design teams discussing and showing the features of Mobile Firefox:
For the busy folks, here are the highlights from the video:
- Mobile Firefox uses as much screen real estate as possible to show the page
- swipe screen left to see the open tab list
- swipe right to see navigation buttons
- awesome bar knows what you're looking for as you start typing, just like in your desktop Firefox
- sync using Mozilla Weave – seamless sync desktop and mobile, including history and open tabs
- location based browsing – allows sharing your location with websites automatically (obviously, with your approval only – excellent!)
- security and privacy are the #1 priority
- mobile add-ons – they're trying to create the same development platform that the desktop Firefox already uses. Yup, that means AdBlock is coming.
- HTML 5 support
And some more from Mozilla and GigaOM's interview with Mozilla CEO John Lilly:
- based on Firefox 3.6 engine which is not even available for desktops yet
- Firefox for Mobile will initially support Windows Mobile and Maemo, followed by Android and Symbian
- surely, iPhone owners are out of luck as Apple will never allow a competing browser app on their market. Great – another reason to switch to Android
- Blackberry users are also out of luck as BB uses Java
- Android also uses Java and initially Mozilla ignored it. However, later the Android NDK came out, which allows building of applications in C/C++ and this fact changed everything
- the first public releases should be available in December 2009, according to this article.
Some useful linkage:
- Mozilla's own Mobile wiki page
- Mobile features
- Supported platforms (looks slightly out of date)
- GigaOM: On Mobile Phones, Firefox’s Big Bet Is Nokia & Android
- Firefox Headed to Android Phones
Firefox for Mobile is going to be a serious contender in the mobile web space – we know how serious these guys can get, don't we? After all, they've turned a barely known browser into a #2 in the last few years (soon to be #1, right?). Surely, they can do it again, this time in mobile.
I will be trying out Mobile Firefox (for Android) as soon as I get my hands on it, so expect a detailed review then. I have little doubt that it will replace my plain mobile browser.
What do you guys think?
In the meantime, if you found this article useful, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee below.