The Moz Wants To Go Mobile


Mike Schroepfer from the Mozilla Foundation just made an announcement on his blog about Mozilla's new focus on mobility, making a mobile browser a first class citizen with future Firefox implementations. They're starting the process, staffing up, etc. It seems the iPhone's success on a mobile has finally convinced the Mozilla guys that mobile might be something worth paying attention to (hey - I'm not being snarky - that's what schrep said more or less). They're starting from a blank slate: They're not developing Minimo further, they don't know which devices the new browser will run on yet, and oh, don't expect it any time in the next year or so. Oookay, good to know that last bit.

Personally, I think if those guys were smart they'd mimic the way the most successful mobile browser out there works, which is Opera mini, rather than trying to jam in gecko on a phone and end up only working on the most powerful mobile platforms out there. Create some sort of open client/server browser that could be run on any phone and hosted on LAMP servers and let a personal proxy handle the heavy lifting. I doubt that's what will happen, but that's what I'd recommend. The post said something about being able to use FF extensions and create XUL apps for the phone. Wacky. Since I use exactly two XUL apps, and both are from Mozilla, somehow I think this isn't particularly practical - but I was talking the other day about using JavaScript everywhere, so that would definitely fit the bill.

I hope these guys are successful though - since I spend all day, every day in Firefox, I can obviously see the advantages of having it available on my mobile devices as well, rather than having to use a browser based on an entirely different codebase like KHTML (which Apple and Nokia use) or Opera. That said, all the options suddenly available seem almost crazy doesn't it? We've gone from almost no advanced mobile browsers just a few years ago, to a ton of choices. It makes you wonder if Mozilla could do something else to enhance the mobile web, rather than re-creating the wheel with yet another browser that works on the phone.


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