informa
/
Software
News

Mobile Firefox Coming To Symbian

Code-named Fennec, the browser will use the same technology as the desktop version, including its HTML rendering engine called Gekko.
Mozilla will be bringing its mobile Firefox browser to the Symbian operating system, according to Christian Sejersen, Mozilla's director of mobile engineering.

Code-named Fennec, the browser uses the same technology as the desktop version, including its HTML rendering engine called Gekko. The company released an alpha version in October for the Nokia 810 Internet tablet and had been targeting Microsoft's Windows Mobile environment. But Sejersen said it could not ignore Symbian due to the sheer number of devices in the market.

"In Q3 2008 Symbian had 49.8% of the total smartphone sales (and 57% in Q2), according to Gartner, compared to 11.1% for Windows Mobile and 7.2% for Linux," Sejersen wrote on his blog. "So in order for Mozilla to be relevant in the smartphone space we need to have a presence on the Symbian platform."

The Fennec browser will have touch support, and it will be capable of Ajax and JavaScript. Mozilla said the Symbian version is split into five phases, and full browsing should be achievable by the end of April 2009. The company will still have to do testing and bug fixing after the beta is released, so a full version won't hit until at least the second quarter of 2009.

The Fennec browser won't be initially available for users with a BlackBerry Bold, T-Mobile G1, or iPhone 3G, Sejersen said.

"There are a few other platforms: iPhone, RIM, and Android that have or are gaining market share, where we for technical or licensing reasons can't be deployed," Sejersen wrote.

As users continue to access the mobile Web, Mozilla will find itself in an increasingly crowded market. Besides the on-deck browsers like Safari Mobile and Chrome Lite, Fennec will be competing with other third-party browsers like Opera Mobile, and Skyfire.

Editor's Choice
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author