back to article Mozilla mobilizes for mobile Firefox browser

Mozilla is prepping a mobile version of Firefox, the world's most popular open-source web browser. "People ask us all the time about what Mozilla's going to do about the mobile web," reads a blog post from VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer, "and I'm very excited to announce that we plan to rock it." He says the company will …

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Anonymous Coward

Where's the Java support?

This is non-news. Mozilla have no Mobile Java version of Firefox in development. I'd say 95% of phones on the market today have Java capability come that is being completely ignored. The ability to run Windows Mobile and Symbian apps is nowhere to be found on most handsets - they are more a PDA thing. So perhaps Mozilla should have said they want to "rock the PDA world?"

Also could you skin down Firefox to ~128KB as is required for Java Mobile apps and as Opera has done? I don't think so. Including support for add-ons is fine, but it increases footprint and would probably suck up the little processing power that mobiles have. Mozilla are not going to make an impact on the mobile scene unless they realise the future is in Java, not Windows Mobile.

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Move along, nothing to see here.....

Actually Mozilla have been offering a mobile browser for quite a while now;

http://www.mozilla.org/projects/minimo/

Its actually quite a good little browser, although for some reason I didn't install it on my WM machine after my last upgrade.

It's good to hear that the team is being beefed up, would be nice to see some more development on mobile browsers, still haven't found one I like.

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Gates Halo

@Anon

"What mobile devices will Firefox run on?

We haven't yet determined what our target platforms will be. If you're a mobile device or software-stack developer, your insight and support will be very helpful in determining which configurations we can and should support in our initial efforts."

Sounds like they are being pretty open-minded about what the new app will run on.

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Gold badge
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Minimo

Prolly Minimo renamed and with a "1.0" release pinned on it. I agree with Johan that Minimo is a very good browser, it's got all the right bits in all the right places. The only reason that I don't use it is that the startup time is long. I mean really long. I mean as in measurable Continental Drift long. It's so ruddy awful that it's quicker (if you want to look something up on the 'net quickly), to walk over to the nearest Internet cafe, log in and do it there.

Now I do realise that by default apps remain resident in WM so, in theory, subsequent invocations after the first should be quite rapid. But this means leaving it resident and it's got a footprint in memory like that of the Yeti in snow.....

Mozilla *really* need to address this before pinning a major release number on it, 'cos at the moment it makes mobile IE look good(?!) and Opera look like the personal work of God. Pinning a "Firefox" label on this as it stands will only serve to sully the good name of Firefox.

Which brings me to a point. Why do they want to rename/replace their mobile browser line as "Firefox" anyway? This all smacks of the "brand leveraging" (ugh) that corporates are sooo fond of. Surely Mozilla don't need to stoop to that level?

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Jobs Horns

Title

"Mozilla have no Mobile Java version of Firefox in development, thank god!!!"

I finished your sentence properly for you there.... that would be the most awful nightmare I can imagine. Please Mozilla, if you are reading this, shoot this guy and focus on platforms which can deliver the quality we expect from your products...

"The ability to run Windows Mobile and Symbian apps is nowhere to be found on most handsets "

Because the people who buy low end phones and fashion handsets (e.g. iPhone) aren't likely to even know what Firefox is...

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Firefox only in name, not in functionality

I hope people don't expect to be using a familiar incarnation of Firefox for their mobile phones, whatever gets punted out will be a completely different browser with the Firefox name slapped on it for marketing purposes. Just as well really, the desktop version of Firefox is clunky.

I'll stick to Opera for mobile phones. Fast, elegant, and available for the majority of Windows Mobile and Symbian.

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Fragmented?

Sure, bringing in your own propietary plug-in technology to the web will definitely make it less fragmented...

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Jobs Horns

Not Hopeful

Opera will be the team to beat in this market, they have nearly all devices covered. If someone made a stapler with a screen and internet access, Opera would release a version for it. And it would be wonderful!

I have used MiniMo 1.x in the past and I have to say it was a clunky piece of software, slow, long to load, feature deprived. Even IE for WinCE was better, but once again Opera would be my browser of choice on that platform too.

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Anonymous Coward

re: minimo

Johan: It's worth noting that Minimo itself is effectively dead. The new project(s) are essentially new development lines.

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Hasn't This Already Been Done...?

Isn't the Nokia browser built on a modified version of the Mozilla code base - OK possibly not the Firefox code base and they (deliberately) left extensions and XUL out but still...

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@Where's the Java support?

Who the fck in their right mind wants to surf the web on a 2" screen using a Java based web browser? If Mozilla ignore handsets with cr@ppy screens that's a good call in my opinon - PDAs with 4"+ screens (and ideally 800x480+ resolution) are far more suitable platforms for browsing the web, take a look at the Nokia N800 which already runs a browser based on Firefox 3.

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Anonymous Coward

Java capability come that is being completely ignored

Any ideas why that might be?

>skin down Firefox to ~128KB as is required for Java Mobile

Oh yes you do... Although there's the speed problem as well.

Why then should they "realise the future is in Java"?

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Looking forward to ...

... Firefox on my Nokia E61. As long as they do a Symbian S60 version, I'll be happy.

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Minimo is still Windows only

It's going to have to be cross-platform to catch up with Opera. I'd quite like it on Symbian 60 when they're ready. Mobile Linux too of course, when someone decides what that is.

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What about Flash Support

The biggest issue I have is that my my phone wont "use flash" with the internet unless I do some serious re-coding of certain parts of the applications. So, are they gonna integrate flash, java, etc, into the browser? Or at least have the same type capabilities that the great firefox I use on my computer :)

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