Fennec users will be able to download add-ons to improve the functionality of the browser, just as they can with Firefox for the desktop. Developers will be able to create programs like an ad blocker for the mobile browser, and the company said it should be relatively easy to port existing extensions.
The Fennec browser is expected to be launched by the end of the year for Windows Mobile and Symbian smartphones. Mozilla said it would not initially be available for Android, BlackBerry, or the iPhone because of licensing or technical issues.
Mozilla will be entering a crowded marketplace when Fennec is launched. Along with on-deck browsers like Apple's mobile Safari, Fennec will have to contend with others trying to capitalize on the growing use of the mobile Web.
Opera dominates the third-party mobile browsing market, as more than 20 million customers use the Opera Mini browser. The company also offers Opera Mobile for higher-end devices, and it features optimized content, as well as touch browsing and zooming. Startup Skyfire also is receiving positive reviews, as the mobile browser uses server-side compression to let users access and interact with sites that have Flash, advanced Ajax, Java, and QuickTime.
With strong browsers like Fennec, smartphones could eventually replace your laptop as a mobile computing device. InformationWeek analyzed how handhelds are becoming over-the-air portals for enterprise apps, and the report can be downloaded here (registration required).