Mozilla Releases Preview Of Mobile-Phone Browser - InformationWeek
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7/27/2005
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Mozilla Releases Preview Of Mobile-Phone Browser

The Mozilla Foundation has released a technology preview of a mobile-phone browser that uses the same code base--and offers many of the same features--as the popular desktop Firefox browser.

The Mozilla Foundation has released a technology preview of a mobile-phone browser that uses the same code base as the popular desktop Firefox browser, which recently topped 75 million downloads, an official with the open-source group said Wednesday.

Minimo 0.007 is for mobile devices running Windows CE and offers many of the features in Firefox, such as tabbed browsing, support for plug-ins and has an interface written in XUL, which stands for extensible user interface language, Chris Hofmann, director of engineering at Mozilla, said.

XUL is a set of XML tags developed by Mozilla for describing graphical user interfaces. The technology supports cascading style sheets, which is helpful in adapting web pages to the small screens of cellular phones; JavaScript and resource description language, or RDF, for storing dynamic content.

No timetable for general availability of Minimo has been set.

"This is a technology preview release for engaging the (developer) community to join the project and help out in the development and generate new ideas," Hofmann said.

In general, Mimimo looks to address the problems with current mobile-phone browsers, which are difficult to use and don't display web pages very well. Only 9 percent of cellular-phone subscribers in the United States use browsers to access news and information, according to JupiterResearch.

"The lack of usability on the cellular phone or mobile device is a big hurdle to overcome before we can see faster growth of browsers," Hofmann said.

In the meantime, Mozilla is in discussion with mobile-phone manufacturers interested in pre-installing the browsers, Hofmann said. No deals have been announced.

Meanwhile, the number of downloads for Firefox surpassed 75 million on Tuesday, Mozilla said.

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