Mozilla Releases Firefox Mobile 1.0

By Craig Buckler

Mozilla Firefox MobileMozilla’s Fennec project has finally delivered the first release of Firefox Mobile for Maemo-based phones such as the Nokia N900. The browser offers a modern browsing experience optimized for handheld devices and includes:

  • HTML5, CSS2.1, CSS3, SVG, Canvas and most of the newer technologies available in desktop browsers.
  • A clean, clutter-free interface with minimal on-screen controls, one-touch bookmarking and the awesome bar.
  • Tabs, zooming, search engine integration, offline browsing, a download manager, password manager, pop-up blocker, and spell-checking.
  • Mozilla Weave to synchronize your bookmarks, open tabs, and history with your desktop PC.
  • Location-aware browsing to get maps and information relevant to your current location.
  • Full customization, automated updates and add-ons support.

The browser is also available on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux if you want to test mobile development on your local PC.

Mozilla Firefox Mobile

It’s a undoubtedly a great browser and worth considering if you’re a Firefox user with an N900. I hope it does well but, realistically, how many people can install the browser? Version 1.0 is available for top-of-the-range Maemo devices with Windows Mobile coming soon. However, Android development has only just begun. More worryingly, there are no plans for versions on the Apple iPhone/iPad, Blackberry, or Symbian platforms. Mozilla has stated they are willing to co-operate with Apple to produce an iPhone edition but, given their recent history, I doubt Apple will be eager to offer an alternative to Safari.

Perhaps Mozilla is looking to the future and hope we’ll all have compatible devices within a few years? But I can’t help thinking they’ve been a little too ambitious. Should they have produced a simpler browser which could be installed on a wide range of mobile devices? More advanced versions could have been developed as the market evolved.

Fortunately, Opera are still producing a number of quality mobile browsers which work on a variety of mass-market devices.

Have you tried Firefox Mobile on your phone? Is it superior to your other mobile browsers? Are you considering web application development on mobile platforms?

  • McG

    Couldn’t agree more. Why put so much into development of a browser when so few can actually use it!?! I’ll be sticking with Opera on my S60V5 phone but very disappointed that Mozilla didn’t look to support a much wider user base.

  • Joseph

    ” Why put so much into development of a browser when so few can actually use it!?! ”

    Because they can. If they have the resources, why not?

  • davidcroda

    It’s not Mozilla’s fault that Apple is totally uncooperative with replacements for their proprietary software. How long has apple been making mobile devices and they still refuse to support flash.

    Android is open source. They are also developing for Windows Mobile. They give a good reason for not making it for the Blackberry… again its due to constraints of the operating system, not some decision they made.

    What other mobile OS’s could you ask for? If you have every tried to develop software across pc platforms, or have experience programming from some of these mobile os’s, I think you will realize there is a lot more to this then “ohh… Mozilla doesn’t like my (INSERT PHONE MODEL)”

  • I’m sure this is just the beginning, and new devices and platforms will be supported in the future.

  • KK

    Am I really disappointed? No, opera very good for surfing and uc web can do everything you expect. mozilla wake up!

  • What other mobile OS’s could you ask for?

    Symbian for a start! And there’s no reason why a cut-down version couldn’t be implemented on the Blackberry.

    Mozilla are unlikely to ever have an iPhone/iPad version (not their fault), but they’re releasing the browser on competing high-end smart phones. Unfortunately, the iPhone totally dominates that market.

    I’m not saying it wouldn’t be difficult, but Opera support far more mobiles – and the Nintendo DS and Wii. They have a fraction of Mozilla’s resources.

  • davidcroda

    Does opera’s mobile browser support HTML5, CSS3, SVG graphics, Flash, Offline Browsing…… etc.

  • @Stormrider
    It may be early days, but Mozilla has stated they have no intention of supporting several platforms. Android development has only just begun and won’t be available for many months.

  • davidcroda

    One thing I tried to touch on but really didn’t go into is the VAST difference between developing for different operating systems, and developing for these different mobile platforms.

    I don’t know if you have looked at the Android SDK or written for it at all, but the platform itself is like a mix between the web and traditional programming. Applications are all separated into different “states” which are like different webpages of the same site. Each “state” can be referenced by any other application on the system. This is in an effort to simulate multi-tasking better as well as allow a very pluggable application system.

    Now honestly, I have not developed for any other mobile platforms so for all I know, they could all be built like this. But I know that is extremely different from traditional compiled programming languages.

    The basic point is, to develop an application simultaneously for multiple operating systems it often just involves
    compiling the source code in an operating system specific manner.

    This is definitely NOT the case with mobile applications so it does not surprise me that they are not able to develop these simultaneously on multiple platforms.

  • Does opera’s mobile browser support HTML5, CSS3, SVG graphics, Flash, Offline Browsing…… etc.

    Don’t know; Yes; Yes; Don’t know; Yes;

    In fact Opera Mobile was the very first browser to implement SVG, using the Tiny SVG profile, and that was about four years ago. As has often been the case – Opera innovated, and Firefox copied.

  • Oh yeah, it was also the first mobile browser to implement Ajax, the first to implement handheld-media stylesheets (and still the only one to return an accurate device-media profile), and it has an intelligent small-screen rendering mode that puts mobile Safari to shame, because it focuses on usability rather than eye-candy.

  • Harry

    How can i download the new firefox

  • I don’t think Opera Mini or Mobile support Flash, but they are designed for lower-specification devices.

    Opera Turbo’s also a great feature which compresses images before they’re sent to your mobile.

    Most the mobile platforms are completely different, although many support Java which may help? It’s understandable why it takes so long to target multiple devices but Mozilla appear to have given up on the majority of mobiles.

    As a thought, there’s no mention of Palm’s webOS either?

  • Opera Mobile specs:

    Includes everything that’s been mentioned, except Flash.

    You can’t really compare Opera Mobile and Opera Mini — Opera Mobile is a fully-fledged mobile browser with an impressive specification (as linked). Opera Mini is essentially a server proxy that interprets web pages into text, so that they can be read by very low-spec devices.

  • me

    They really need to target Blackberry.

    I hear that BB has acquired a company that has ported WebKit to Blackberry. If they want to prevent WebKit from sealing their lunch they need to compete in all markets they do.

  • davidcroda

    So after all this talk of Opera mobile I tried to download it from the marketplace on my Nexus One (android based)

    It’s not there so I went to

    Opera Mobile only supports Nokia and Windows Mobile. These are the same platforms that firefox mobile runs on…

  • Opera Mobile only supports Nokia and Windows Mobile. These are the same platforms that firefox mobile runs on…

    You’re mistaken – Firefox Mobile supports a subset of Nokia platorms, and nothing else. Opera Mobile supports most Nokia smartphones and all Windows Mobile devices

  • nevins

    Nice News
    how to download it?
    anyways congratulations

  • @davidcroda
    Firefox Mobile only works on a single Nokia phone – not almost every one! And it’s not available for Windows mobile yet.

  • davidcroda

    @Craig Buckler I suggest you read the page a little closer under Windows Mobile.

    Also it was “optimized” for a single Nokia model, but that is not the only one it runs on

  • davidcroda

    Since people keep saying it is not available on Windows Mobile, I figured I would copy and paste this hear to help you all out.

    Firefox for Windows Mobile (Alpha 3) is available for download. Using your phone’s existing browser, navigate to this page and download Firefox directly to your WinMo device.

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