A Silicon Republic interview with Christian Sejersen, mobile director of engineering on Mozilla confirms that there will be no Firefox Mobile for the Android or Mobile OSX platform.
Regarding the two platforms, about Android he said Mozilla is doing nothing right now or in the near future. As for the iPhone, it is a complete no for two reasons: firstly the fact that developers cannot create an application that replicates the functionality of a pre-existing Apple one, and secondly because Apple also does not allow apps that run any code in the background because of the way the licence terms are written.
Sejersen said that Mozilla is initially targeting the N810, which is Linux-based and has open access to APIs and the OS , but also has a large touch screen as its development platform. An alpha version expected sometime this week.
Further down the line, Firefox Mobile will be made available for both touch and non-touch versions of Windows Mobile. After that, Sejersen said that although Mozilla hasnâ€™t made a commitment as of yet, the Symbian phone will most likely follow.
The beta version of Firefox Mobile will be released before the year is out and is expected to come out of beta testing some time in 2009.
In October 2007, Mike Schroepfer, Mozillaâ€™s vice-president of engineering said that mobile devices had become a top priority for the organisation behind the popular open source browser, Firefox.
â€œWhat we have said before is that Firefox Mobile will be afforded the same first-class citizen status as the desktop version, and not one version behind like most other web browser developers do,â€ explained Sejersen.
In a rather impressive debut, Firefox Mobile, which has not even entered alpha release yet, already scored 88/100 in the Acid 3 web-standards testÂ (wikipedia). This test measures how standards compliant a web browser’s rendering engine is, and therefore how accurately it will be able to display complex web pages.
For comparison, the iPhone 3G browser only scores 74, wile making a complete hash of the rendering of the test, and the Opera Mobile 9.5 browser scores a lowerÂ 71 (but however renders the web page much more accurately than the iPhone browser).
With results this good, and also reports that browsing is pretty past, I cant wait for this new entrant to arrive in the now-crowded Windows Mobile browser arena.
The picture is not pretty, but what it represents is – Mozilla running in the Windows Mobile emulator, rendering a web page.
The new version of Firefox mobile, code-named Fennec, is already running on the Linux-based Nokia N810 tablet, but early released on the Windows Mobile platform will occur “within the next few months”, according to Jay Sullivan, Mozilla vice president of mobile.
In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News last week, Mozilla CEO John Lilly said, “The first thing is to bring Firefox to mobile devices. We’re working on that and we’ll see some alphas in a few weeks.” At the time it was not clear which of the two development platforms, Windows Mobile or Linux would be getting the new builds.
Now, Mozilla developer Mark Finkle has revealed that, while the linux build is doing well and is in a more advanced stage of alpha testing, “Work on Windows Mobile has heated up quite a bit. We should be getting some Fennec builds for Windows Mobile soon.”
In a further post he said “Windows Mobile builds of XULRunner have progressed to the point where it can be built directly from the main Mozilla source tree. However, thereâ€™s a bit more work needed before we can start creating nightly builds.”
Hopefully progress will continue unabated, as I would love to see the innovative concept design for the software implemented on real Windows Mobile devices soon.
I want to run a debug build of fennec on my windows mobile emulator. I have been able to do this by â€œmountingâ€ my object directory as a shared folder. Unfortunately Iâ€™m seeing IO errors which Iâ€™ve read could be due to the way the emulator maps in the â€œstorage card.â€
So now Iâ€™m trying to deploy fennec and xulrunner to the Program Files folder through visual studio. Unfortunately the emulator images provided by microsoft only have 10-20mb (depending on how you launch them) of free storage space, so the deploy fails.
Iâ€™m hoping some one out there has a work around. One option would be to edit the emulator configuration in some seemingly undocumented way. Another could be to download different images. Most actual consumer devices have more than enough internal storage (the HTC Touch Pro has 512Mb), and I seem to remember seeing device specific images at some point. Any help would be appreciated though.
Brad Lassey, from the Mobile Firefox team, has put up a blog post announcing major progress in porting their world-beating desktop browser to the Windows Mobile platform. In moving from the Minimo code base to the new Fennec code base, they have also optimized API calls away from older, deprecated versions, and have found not only that this work resulted in improved performance in Windows Mobile but also Windows XP/Vista due to the reduction in string conversions.
Further progress have been made on issues surrounding window management and file io, and currently xulrunner, normally a desktop run-time environment that provides the chrome for various applications like Firefox, Songbird and even Flickr Uploader, can launch various xul apps without crashing.
Brad however mentions that there are some known issues expected in the future such as font shaping that much be fixed. They have called for developers with specific knowledge in fonting (especially experience with harfbuzz), an interest in tuning performance or just a general interest in developing Firefox for Windows Mobile to join them in #mobile irc channel. The team has already had high profile recruits such as Brian Crowder, one of the architects of Firefox.
To remind readers what’s at stake, this preview of the UI of Mobile Firefox should inspire anyone with the capability to jump right in and help give birth to what promises to be a breakthrough product on the Windows Mobile platform.
CNetÂ has just confirmed whatÂ we have said last when we posted on Mobile Firefox – No love for the iPhone. The innovative browser, that not only supports web 2.0 features, but also many of the services associated with it through the integrated Awesome Bar, will be coming to Windows Mobile as early as August.
What has been surprising and new news however is that even Android wont be supported. In the words of Tristan Nitot, President of Mozilla Europe:
Going from a year ago when Windows Mobile basically lacked any “full web browsers”, it seems Windows Mobile will soon suffer an embarrassment of riches, with the new version of Pocket Internet Explorer using the desktop rendering engine due in September, Opera Mobile 9.5 already out on the HTC Touch Diamond and soon to be released generally, the incredible Mobile Firefox and even Netfront 3.5 maturing very well.