image 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:

Feature Highlights

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:

  • support for Javascript, CSS, Flash, SVG, video, and audio
  • 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:


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?

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Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer and blogger. Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

In the meantime, if you found this article useful, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee below.

  • ColdMan

    Thanks for putting together a list. I like bullet points.

  • stoggy

    Why release the browser on winmo first? That is where there is oppurtunity for competition. I seriously doubt anyone is working on wine or ie4linux on a mobile platform. So no shItE competition on Android. No ie on iphone, no ie on bb, no ie on webos.

    If android/bb/iphone/whatever can put down winmo what it is the point releasing for that platform. Why help them make sales. This is exactly what novell did by not making a desktop, they sold a couple servers, while windows sold tons of desktops. Cut their apron strings!

    Releasing on winmo is a great. But why not beat them instead of competing with them. In the Desktop arena I am sure it is better to release in windoze first, but in the mobile arena windoze phones are not very popular. Why go there first?

    • @stoggy
      I'm not sure Mozilla is in the space of fighting for or against WinMo. Simply put, it was the lowest hanging fruit and easiest to code for.

      Android came later, as they released the NDK that allowed coding in C++.

      Blackberry is not possible as apps for it are written exclusively in Java and iPhone… well it's iPhone. I heard they allowed some browsers into their app store as of recently, so maybe there's a chance for Firefox to be there too.

      Also, I had to re-read your message 3 times to kind of understand where you were going. Please write more coherently if you can.

  • ccoke

    Has the Firefox browser been released for the Android? I could really use it on my Droid ERIS