The developer team behind Firefox has announced plans to bring a mobile version of the technology to the market in 2008.
"People ask us all the time about what Mozilla's going to do about the mobile web, and I'm very excited to announce that we plan to rock it," Mike Schroepfer, a Mozilla developer known as "schrep," wrote on the Mozillazine blog.
Specifically, Mozilla will add mobile devices to the first class/tier-1 platform set for Mozilla2, the next-generation browser technology due in 2008, Schroepfer wrote.
"This means we will make core platform decisions with mobile devices as first-class citizens. We will ship a version of 'Mobile Firefox' which can, among other things, run Firefox extensions on mobile devices and allow others to build rich applications via XUL."
While Firefox has had a persistent reputation of being a "fatter" (i.e., more resource-intensive) browser than rivals like Opera, Schroepfer said that mobile hardware is finally catching up with the software.
A Mozilla-based browser has already been released for the Nokia N800.
"Getting a no-compromise Web experience on devices requires significant memory (>=64MB) as well as significant CPU horsepower," Schroepfer added. "High end devices today are just approaching these requirements and will be commonplace soon.
"For example, the iPhone has 128MB of DRAM and somewhere between a 400 to 600 MHz processor. It is somewhere between 10x-100x slower on scripting benchmarks than a new MacBook Pro and somewhere between 3-5x slower than an old T40 laptop on the same Wi-Fi network.
"But rapid improvements in mobile processors will close this gap within a few years. There are chips out there today that are faster than the one in the iPhone and integrate graphics, CPU, and i/o (Wi-Fi/3G/WiMAX) on one die."
As to what platforms Mobile Firefox will support, the developers aren't saying.
To date, the Mozilla community has developed Joey, an application to send information gleaned via the desktop browser to the mobile phone, and Minimo, an attempt to map the browser to a specific mobile context.
Minimo will not be developed further, Schroepfer said.
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