Over at Mobile Choice they are talking about our old friend, the upcoming Mobile Firefox (Fennec) browser, and how great it will be. No, really!
Little fox, will we ever see you?
Let’s look at the 2 main features that were already known about:
Add-Ons – I know mobile phone screens are getting bigger, but I’m sure they’re not big enough to have in-browser add-ons. Why would I , for example, use TwitterFox when I can use a specific Twitter application made for mobile phones. I also wouldn’t use Gmail Manager as I have downloaded the official Mobile Gmail application. That’s the problem – mobile applications already exist for Firefox add-ons, so that selling point is lost, on me anyway.
Tabbed Browsing – on my current phone (Nokia 5800) I can click between windows with just 2 clicks, so tabbed browsing will be done in 1, I guess. This is not a deal breaker for me, and if it takes up screen space then that’s a step back.
The big thing causing excitement is the announcement of synced tabs from computer to phone. I think I may be letting the whole Firefox Mobile bandwagon pass me by, but once again, I have to say that is a feature I really don’t see being of much benefit. With this you can get the same pages to open on your mobile as you last had on your PC/laptop. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a situation where I’ve needed that!
At the risk of sounding highly pessimistic, I don’t see that Firefox Mobile has anything to offer that will make people move away from default browsers or from the very highly successful Opera Mini. If you think or know otherwise, please fill me in, I’m all ears!
Ask your average technical minded person what browser they use on their laptop or desktop PC and the answer is usually Firefox. Ironically I am an Internet Explorer (IE) user – I had a bad experience with Firefox once which almost scarred me for life, though recent IE problems may see me tentatively trying Firefox again. Back on point and it is quite bewildering that Mozilla have never managed to get Mobile Firefox sorted. Instead it is Opera that has the number one mobile browser in Opera Mini.
The Mobile Firefox browser has been codenamed (what is this, browser spy wars?) Fennec, after the small desert fox, the Fennec Fox! It’s been delayed more times than a new Guns N’ Roses album and currently is only available at a alpha testing stage for owners of Nokia N800 and N810 devices. Below is a screenshot, courtesy of the : : unwired, of the much anticipated (or not) browser.
The screenshot the world may have been waiting for!
I’m sure it’s all in the functionality, but that doesn’t look all that great. I think they are going to have to go a long way to beating Mini Opera, and early reports are suggesting that isn’t going to happen as feedback hasn’t been good.
The number of people using their mobile phone for web browsing is increasing daily, and the influx of touchscreen phones making that a lot easier means that increase will only get steeper. With that in mind Mozilla are going to have to do something revolutionary to benefit from an area it which they should really be leading the way.