Mobile Firefox first steps

As part of it mobile strategy, Mozilla has unveiled the first designs of what may become in time, Mobile Firefox’s user interface. The design considers two scenarios: touch screen enabled devices like most PDAs and smart phones and those were screen navigation is performed with a keyboard or similar, like most cell phones.

Perhaps the most noticeable change in these first previews is the aim for look and feel and even functionality consistency with Firefox 3, a true challenge for an application constrained to cell phones and PDAs limited computing resources.

The main window looks very clean with a thin title bar, a main toolbar that can be hidden by tapping on the title bar and features a refresh/stop button, a location/search bar and Firefox 3-style star/bookmarks button.

Firefox Mobile prototype UI

A tap in the location/search bar calls the device on-screen keyboard to enter either a web address or search terms. The press the Go button to visit the web address, the search button to perform a search or cancel. The location bar is as mighty as Firefox 3’s awesome bar displaying previously entered web addresses and titles that match the entered characters.

Firefox Mobile prototype UI search/enter URL

Additionally, the list of previously entered address can be displayed by tapping in a chevron inside the location bar.

As a page loads, the reload button changes to a stop button while the location bar shows the page loading progress in the background.

The star button displays the list of bookmarks on a single tap. Double tap to bookmark the current page.

Firefox Mobile prototype UI bookmarks

A navigation toolbar is displayed in the lower part with back and forward button, zoom in and zoom out buttons which suddenly become very relevant on mobile devices and a cool tabs button that displays up to four tab previews on tap for quick tab switching. You will be able to pan amon tabs if more than four are currently opened and close them with individual buttons.

Zoom-In and Zoom-Out buttons do a full page zooming (images included) just like Firefox 3 will do. You can then pan a web page by tapping and dragging around.

For non touch screen devices a virtual cursor is provided and controlled with the keyboard navigational keys. Other actions are performed through menus and submenus.

Mozilla is also providing XUL prototypes, (I used the touch screen enabled one for the screenshots), so you can try the proposed interface on a working prototype with a few limitations though.

Of course the reason for this early announcement is to allow people to share their views and comments. I am not sure if there is a forum for that right now, but Mozilla Mobile’s Doug Turners’s post should be a good place to start.

Make sure to read the complete specifications.

34 thoughts on “Mobile Firefox first steps”

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  6. I would like to know does it supports AJAX?

    Is there anyway to support mouse over event? As I find that some site use dynamic menu which a lot of mobile browser does not support moude over, i cannot further navigate to the site. So it will be a great idea to support mouse over, may be using a virtual mouse cursor.


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  15. Isn’t there already a “Mobile Firefox” that runs on Maemo?

    (the Nokia Internet Tablet linux OS; the default browser for OS2008, “microb”, is a variant of Firefox last I checked, complete with plugin compatibility, etc.)

    or is “Mobile Firefox” a poorly named “Windows Mobile” specific version?

  16. John, the Maemo version is a slightly adapted Firefox that can take advantage of Nokia tablets’ more powerful processors. Mobile Firefox will be for all cell phones and PDAs.

    Petr, there is no Mobile Firefox available for any platform. The screenshots are just a prototype running on Windows XP that simulates a typical PDA screen size.

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  20. Since I have gotten the Nokia N95 in 2007 I’ve been anxiously anticipating this release. The company I work for uses iNotes and Opera Mini doesn’t work with it. Furthermore, I have seen some flaky behaviour from Opera. I like the screen shots; however, from a non-touchscreen PDA phone perspective, it would be a better UI to keep all functions in one location (i.e. either top or bottom). This means a better experience for the non-touchscreen users from not having to go to the top or the bottom based on the function they want the application to do.

    I have Symbian OS S60 3rd Edition and would like to see this on my phone.

    Any ideas on when we could see some beta release for Symbian users?

  21. I would like to see a few features from the Netfront browser. Basically, the entire webpage is displayed, and scrolling to the left, right, up, down, sideways, etc. is as easy as a swift “swipe” of the finger across the page. While the page moves, a little box shows up, incdicating where in the webpage you are going to.

    …and the bookmarks display in a way similar to the way coverflow displays music albums in itunes.

    It would be great if Mobile Firefox could emulate and improve on some of the innovations there!

  22. i heard about this and i saw the demo and it looked pretty
    but if this is the real version, then i don’t like it.
    its not that pretty, sorry.
    eh, i still might get it but i dought it

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