Mozilla mobile browser on horizon

Firefox mobile browsers

Mozilla community (makers of FireFox, Thunderbird, Bugzilla, Camino and other fine applications) have announced their intension to build mobile browsers for both touch screens & non-touch screen phones.

I think they have a great shot at competing directly with the likes of Apple, Palm, Nokia, RIM, Microsoft, etc in the mobile browser market.  Most mobile browsers are lacking in basic functionality of some sort.

  • iPhones can’t copy & paste.  It.  Can’t.  Copy.  And.  Paste.  Think about that for a minute.  Palm Treos over 6 years ago could copy and paste.
  • Blackberry browser laughs heartily at your mobile CSS while slapping its knee.
  • Internet Explorer Mobile is almost as fantastic as Internet Explorer’s desktop version.  D’oh.
  • Opera Mini, god bless them, are trying, but not much better than the rest (frequent connection errors have tainted my once-cheery opinion of Opera Mini.)

Most mobile browsers have serious issues supporting JavaScript, CSS, AJAX, Flash, audio, video, etc.  None offer developers tools or plugins to allow any real dissection of a page.  I would LOVE some sort of “Email me page source” and “Email me screenshot” tools.  For that matter, many phones are capable of voice-dialing.

Why not use voice browsing to automatically open a browser and navigate to a preset audio bookmark?

  1. “Find Starbucks” – could trigger google maps search
  2. “Browse CNN” – open CNN mobile homepage in your browser
  3. “Wiki Ben Franklin” – searched Wapedia for Ben Franklin references

There are infinite possibilities when you ponder all the available functionality of a mobile phone.  They are, after all, audio devices first and foremost.  Let’s put the audio to good use.

Speaking of functionality, Google is beginning to use a combination of GPS and cell tower pings to determine where a user is located for their mobile maps product.  It’s not perfect, but pretty accurate and more importantly, it’s combining interesting features of the phone (WAP & GPS) to create an application that is greater than the sum of its parts.

I hope Mozilla pushes the envelope and begins utilizing more of the phone’s capabilities than just a simple browser.

Track the progress of the browser development on Mozilla’s wiki pages:

Touch screen browser wiki
Non-touch screen browser wiki

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