We have been keeping our eyes on the browser wars for quite some time here at CMSWire. While the battle has been heating up on desktop platforms, the new and cool thing is mobile browsing.
Mozilla has been lagging behind in the mobile arena, but that may have changed with Mozilla's latest mobile browser -- Fennec. Fennec enables the very things that made Firefox so popular: extensions. The first extension has been released and things are moving quick.Mozilla hasn't had much luck when it comes to mobile browsers. After the company pulled the plug on Minimo, Mozilla's first attempt at a mobile browser that had a strong presence on the Windows Mobile platform, things were looking bleak. However, it was announced that a different and more serious approach to mobile browsing was going to be taken by Mozilla shortly after Minimo's demise. Lo and behold, we now have Fennec to look forward to.
Nearly a year after that announcement, it appears that Mozilla has done things right this time around. Mozilla Fennec, the code name for Mozilla's mobile version of Firefox, has already begun making headlines as details emerge about the browser's capabilities. Fennec, Mozilla's second attempt at a browser
The Fennec mobile Web browser will support third-party extensions, just like Mozilla Firefox. This is a big deal because mobile browsers are typically far less functional than desktop equivalents. Empowering third-party developers to innovate on a browser that not only works well but operates on mobile devices can't be anything other than an amazing accomplishment that shouldn't be taken lightly by the competition.
The First Extension
The first extension for Fennec -- URL Fixer -- is also a player on the desktop version of Firefox. Its purpose is to offer suggestions for misspelled URLs. This is important for both security and efficiency. But its importance is magnified on mobile devices where misspellings are plentiful. It is already a winner in our books. The first extension for Fennec, URL Fixer
This is only the beginning. There are numerous other extensions that can already be envisioned for a mobile version of Firefox. Perhaps built-in instant messaging and chat. Maybe tools for mobile Web developers. Possibly social bookmarking to popular services like Delicious and StumbledUpon. The possibilities are endless.
Who's Down With Fennec?
The new kid on the block, Android will not be seeing Mozilla Fennec anytime soon. This is due to the requirement that applications be written in a Java-like language for Android. Mozilla has stated that they are in no hurry to get the browser on Android because of this limitation. This might be more of a win for Google than a loss for Mozilla because the built-in WebKit-based browser is highly optimized for Google's services. But it must be discouraging for some users of the T-Mobile G1 and other future Android-based devices.
This leaves Opera Mini and proprietary Web browsers in the cross hairs of Fennec. Phone manufacturers like Nokia, Samsung and Research In Motion will be the targets of Mozilla's latest developments. These are the phone manufacturers that will need to support Firefox Mobile if there is any hope to gain traction against the competition.
Fortunately for Mozilla, telecommunication companies are opening up to new advancements like open source software. While nothing is certain, it is a pretty fair bet that there is going to be a mobile device somewhere in the world that will support Firefox Mobile. Mozilla has a huge edge in the browser wars and that edge is the capability to add nearly unlimited functionality through extensions. If Mozilla can package that into a solid, reliable and efficient mobile browser while promoting high quality extensions, the mobile browser wars could be turned into a bloodbath where Mozilla shows no mercy to its competition.
To see what Fennec truly has to offer, click here to watch a video demonstration.
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