Friday, 12 October 2007 09:48

Mozilla mulls mobile Firefox

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A planned version of Firefox for mobile devices will support extensions and  the XUL language used to create user interfaces for web applications.

Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's engineering vice president, recognised the growing use of mobile devices for web access and pointed to the way devices outsell computers by 20 to one.

Mobile devices will be considered a tier-one platform in Mozilla 2 (a major revision of the core Mozilla technology underpinning Firefox and other applications). "This means we will make core platform decisions with mobile devices as first-class citizens," said Schroepfer.

The timetable for 'Mobile Firefox' is vague - "certainly not before 2008" - but Mozilla's mobile development team has just been expanded with the addition of Christian Sejersen (formerly of Openwave) and Brad Lassey (formerly of France Telecom R&D).

According to Schroepfer, the time is right to set up development efforts because high-end mobile devices are beginning to deliver the CPU power and memory needed for full web functionality.

"We've seen through Mozilla on the Nokia N800 and Minimo (a Mozilla-based browser for Windows Mobile) that it is possible to build a great experience on devices by using the Mozilla code," he said.

Creating a mobile browser from the same codebase as the popular PC products would require less effort than building a completely independent application. If it became popular, it might also simplify the lives of web developers.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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