Mozilla Building Firefox Home, an iPhone App for Quick Browsing

 
 
By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-05-27 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mozilla is working on an iPhone application, based on Firefox Sync technology, called Firefox Home. The app will allow users rapid access to their Firefox browsing history, bookmarks and the set of tabs from the most recent browser session. Mozilla could be entering a heavy development period, as the organization has begun early work on Firefox 4. Firefox currently occupies a position behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer in the traditional browser market, but sits ahead of both Google Chrome and Apple's Safari.

Mozilla is developing Firefox Home, an iPhone application intended to provide easy access to a user's Firefox browsing history, bookmarks and tabs-yet another step in the organization's attempts to extend pieces of its browser franchise far and wide.

"We have been working on an application for the iPhone based on the Firefox Sync (formerly Weave Sync) technology," Mozilla Product Manager Ragavan Srinivasan wrote in a May 26 post on the Mozilla blog. "This app is called Firefox Home, and it gives iPhone users instant access to their Firefox browsing history, bookmarks and the set of tabs from their most recent browser session. What's more, it provides Firefox 'Awesome Bar' capability that enables people to get to their favorite Websites with minimal typing."

Srinivasan described the application as "part of a broader Mozilla effort to provide a more personal Web experience with more user control"-which basically boils down to being able to retrieve Websites quickly while on the run. A release date was not mentioned, except for Srinivasan's vague promise: "There will be more to come as we polish this off and submit it to the App Store."

Mozilla could very well be entering a busier period. Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's director of Firefox, indicated in a May 10 post on his personal blog that Mozilla had begun early work on Firefox 4, the next version of its popular browser.

"Usually software producers don't present these sorts of plans in public until they're finalized, but Mozilla is a little different," Beltzner wrote. "We work in the open, socializing our plans early and often to gather feedback and build excitement in our worldwide community."

According to Beltzner, the primary goals for Firefox 4 include making a "super-duper-fast" browser that gives users a high degree of control, while "enabling new open, standard Web technologies (HTML5 and beyond)." However, he added, "these plans are fluid and likely to change."

While Mozilla seems busy porting functionality onto the iPhone, it ceased work on a version of Firefox for Windows Mobile in March.

"We have been building a version of Firefox for Windows Mobile for quite a while, with the expectation that Microsoft would be doubling down on the mobile market and hoping they would put out a great new mobile operating system," Stuart Parmenter, Mozilla's director of mobile, wrote March 22 on Blog.pavlov.net. However, "While we think Windows Phone 7 looks interesting ... Microsoft unfortunately decided to close off development to native applications" on the new platform, he said.

"Given that Microsoft is staking their future in mobile on Windows Mobile 7 (not 6.5) and because we don't know if or when Microsoft will release a native development kit," Parmenter added, "we are putting our Windows Mobile development on hold."

Firefox currently occupies about 24.59 percent of the worldwide traditional browser market, according to analytics company Net Applications, lagging behind Internet Explorer at 59.95 percent but staying ahead of Chrome at 6.73 percent and Safari at 4.72 percent.

 
 
 
 
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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