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Mobile Firefox to Tie Desktop and Mobile Web on Maemo and Android

Although I’m finding the web browser on a loaner Nokia N900 to be quite good, I’m still keeping an eye on Mobile Firefox, aka: Fennec and PocketFox. The N900 should be the first device to see the a release candidate — possibly by next week — but CNet says that the Windows Mobile version won’t appear until next year. You can currently download and install an alpha version for Windows Mobile directly from Mozilla while you wait. In fact, the fifth beta of Fennec for Maemo devices is readily available too, so once I get my first impressions of the N900 put together and it’s lighter cousin to Fennec, I may give this a download. The mobile browser is built from the same engine powering Firefox 3.6 and will support extensions, just like the big-boy version.

Confirming what we heard back in October, Colin Gibbs at GigaOm says Mozilla is indeed working on a mobile browser for the Android platform. In fact, Colin feels Mozilla must take this step since they can’t easily get their browser on Apple (s aapl) or BlackBerry (s rimm) devices. I wondered about Mozilla on Android when I first heard about it — mainly because the native WebKit browser in Android is pretty solid and is easy to use. But I think there is room for a Mozilla browser on Google Android (s goog) handsets — especially for people that use Firefox on the desktop as opposed to Google Chrome. Why? Because both the desktop and mobile versions of Firefox support Mozilla’s Weave service — it intends to quickly sync the browser experience so that all of your web environment is basically the same whether you’re on a full computer or a mobile handset. And Fennec is the only major mobile browser I can think of that extends beyond the confines of a small screen. For example, you can pan to the left or right of the browser for more virtual space and access to bookmarks.

One Response to “Mobile Firefox to Tie Desktop and Mobile Web on Maemo and Android”

  1. johnkzin

    Another reason to want Fennec on Android:

    The Fennec betas I’ve used, use the non-Mobile versions of Google Apps. IMO, that’s a good thing: full/real Google Reader on my G1 would be a breathe of fresh air. That will be especially true on the Entourage eDGe, when it comes out.