Mobile
Commentary
3/23/2010
06:38 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Mozilla Gives Up On Windows Mobile

Today Mozilla confirmed that it has halted all development of Firefox browsers for the Windows Mobile platform. That includes Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone 7. Does Mozilla have a good reason?

Today Mozilla confirmed that it has halted all development of Firefox browsers for the Windows Mobile platform. That includes Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone 7. Does Mozilla have a good reason?More than 18 months ago, Mozilla predicted that it was going to change mobile browsing forever with versions of its Firefox browser for smartphones.

Here we are well into 2010, however, and Mozilla has yet to cough up a working 1.0 release for any of the major smartphone platforms. It demoed a 1.0 version of Fennec for the Maemo-based Nokia N900, but the N900 is pretty much the only Maemo 5 device available in the market and is beyond a niche product. Mozilla doesn't have anything beyond early alpha releases of Fennec for Android or any other platform.

Mozilla said in no uncertain terms that it won't even consider developing for Windows Phone 7 Series because of the new platforms reliance on Silverlight and XNA for runtime environments. Developers -- a.k.a. Mozilla -- doesn't like the platform because developers have no access to the native code required by Mozilla to create a Firefox browser for WP7. Given that WinMo 6.5 has been essentially end-of-lifed, Mozilla is giving up on Microsoft altogether.

Windows Phone 7 devices will launch with a mobile-optimized version of Internet Explorer 7 on them. The current Internet Explorer browser on WinMo phones is 6.

The early builds of Fennec that Mozilla demonstrated about a year ago still looks impressive, but it's disappointing the company hasn't been able to come up with a working beta or 1.0 release for any of the smartphone platforms in the market such as Android, BlackBerry OS, webOS, or S60.

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