Mozilla made an announcement today regarding their future plans to deliver a Mobile Firefox. This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard of something like this from Mozilla, but this time they sound extremely serious.
There are already mobile Mozilla browsers available today, one of which is pictured above and is only available to Nokia N800 and N770 users. It offers full AJAX support, RSS feed previews, add-ons, and more.
There is also the Minimo browser for Pocket PC’s, and the recently released Joey service. Mozilla plans on continuing to develop Joey further, but Minimo is unfortunately getting kicked to the curb. I actually use Minimo as my main browser on my Pocket PC because it is one of the few free tabbed alternatives for Windows Mobile. Mozilla has said that Minimo was a valuable experiment that has given them information on how Gecko (Mozilla’s rendering engine) operates in mobile environments, but it will no longer be developed.
The best news they posted is the idea of Mobile Firefox having support for extensions. This could make it easy to integrate the browser into services like Flickr, Twitter, email accounts, and more without needing to install additional applications. This can be pretty amazing depending on how well Mozilla is able to implement it, and what kind of control they are able to give to developers.
Mozilla is expanding the team of contributors for the mobile project, but when is the Mobile Firefox release date? That’s a good question, and Mozilla has said that it will certainly not be before 2008. The mobile project will use new technology that won’t be available until after Firefox 3 ships, but they can probably pump out some barebones test versions by the middle of next year.
The inevitable question that comes to my mind now is how will this affect Opera Mini usage? Opera has almost been alone in this market for quite some time, but will Mozilla be able to capture the large market that Opera Mini already has? For last month Opera Mini had a 0.39% market share, which isn’t bad when that’s putting it up against desktop browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer.