Is there room for another browser on Android? Mozilla says yes with the first experimental release of Fennec for Android. I took it for a spin and it looks promising. But why does Mozilla want its browser on smartphones? The answer has to do with desktops.
Mozilla is ceasing all work on Firefox for Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 devices, as Microsoft doesn’t offer an NDK. That doesn’t leave many mobile platform choices for the Mozilla team. What does this say about open source in the mobile marketplace?
Firefox Mobile for Maemo arrived last month, but without many devices to take advantage of it, people are wondering which platform will be the next one to see Mozilla’s browser. Microsoft’s clean break with Windows Phone 7 just might push Mozilla to Android first.
Mozilla’s new Firefox for Maemo is an impressive new mobile browser designed to provide a seamless experience for users across phones and PCs. But in an era built on smartphone apps and app stores, can a browser-based strategy win?
Mozilla officially released the Maemo version of its mobile browser today, and Kevin over at jkOnTheRun is pretty impressed. The move is just the latest milestone in Mozilla’s oh-so-deliberate effort to take its popular browser to mobile, and a version for Windows Mobile devices is expected later this year. But Fennec isn’t compatible with the BlackBerry OS and Mozilla has no plans to build versions for either the iPhone (Apple would surely ban it anyway) or for Symbian handsets. So it looks more and more as if Fennec’s only hope for mass-market traction in the near future hinge on an Android version, which will hit the market later this year.
Firefox Mobile, aka Fennec, doesn’t exactly have an aggressive rollout strategy, but what’s already very cool about the browser is that it has add-ons from outside developers. Here are highlights from some of the 40 or so mobile add-ons already built.
Time released its list of the top gadgets of the year, and the Droid rings in on top. The Droid was chosen for being the first Android phone deemed good enough to be an iPhone competitor. Plus, Opera Mobile and Mobile Fennec are coming to Android.
Mozilla is putting the finishing touches on a final version of Fennec, a version of its Firefox browser for mobile phones. As Mozilla tries to play catch-up in the world of mobile browsers, Android devices will play a key role.