A Mobile Firefox in Mozilla’s future

Mozilla vice-president of engineering, Mike Schroepfer, provided yesterday details about Mozilla plans for the mobile web, and they happen to be quiet serious and already in progress.

Firefox on Nokia phone mockup

Starting with currently in development Mozilla2, the next major update to the core Mozilla platform (think Firefox 4), mobile devices will be involved in making architectural and design decisions like memory footprint, storage usage, power consumption and bandwidth which are severely constrained in today’s devices but with a much powerful future ahead.

To achieve this, Mozilla has already hired Christian Sejersen, former head of Openwave, a leader in mobile phone software. He will lead a Mozilla mobile platform research and development center at Copenhagen.

Brad Lassey, a former France Telecom employee and longtime Mozilla mobile contributor is also joining full time to the mobile team.
Regarding current Mozilla mobile initiatives, Mike said Minimo won’t be further developed but the experience “has already provided us with valuable information about how Gecko operates in mobile environments, has helped us reduce footprint, and has given us a platform for initial experimentation in user experience.”.

Joey, a Mozilla Labs project that provides a bridge between Firefox and your mobile device, will remain in development.

But this quote from Mike Shroepfer’ post summarizes better Mozilla’s strategy for the mobile web:

We will ship a version of “Mobile Firefox” which can, among other things, run Firefox extensions on mobile devices and allow others to build rich applications via XUL.

As clear as it gets.

As the the mobile web market grows in terms of phone with Internet access capabilities, it becomes more and more necessary to take the competition, innovation and pledge to open standards that Mozilla brought to the desktop web, to millions of users and web developers.

It’s also worth mentioning that Mozilla is no newcomer to the mobile web. Besides Minimo and Joey, other projects have been working for a while now taking the Mozilla platform to new mobile computing platforms backed by heavy weights like Nokia and Intel. And most recently, ARM announced a partnership with Mozilla to deliver a Mozilla-based browser for its own platform.

For more takes on Mozilla’s strategy  for the mobile web, check these recent Mozilla Links’ interviews with Chris Hoffman and Doug Turner.

11 thoughts on “A Mobile Firefox in Mozilla’s future”

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