Print 12 comment(s) - last by koss.. on Feb 17 at 9:00 PM

Mozilla Fennec is coming to Android this fall, and is likely coming to Windows Mobile 7 next.  (Source: Mozilla)
Speedy mobile Firefox may help spur Android adoption

The Android mobile operating system may get a boost late this fall from Mozilla, which is developing a mobile version of Firefox (dubbed Fennec) for the Google handset OS. The Open Handset Alliance, the group comprised of Google and other mobile phone companies, made the browser possible by recently releasing an NDK (native development kit) which allowed native C/C++ code to be incorporated into apps for the first time. 

Previously, all apps had been written in Java.  Java is considered by many app developers to be inferior both in speed and library functionality for mobile apps to C/C++.  The iPhone, one of Google's key competitors, already uses a flavor of C in its apps (Objective C, to be precise).

With C support in place, Mozilla decided it was practical to port Fennec to Android.  Mozilla's Mobile VP Jay Sullivan describes, "It's a modern OS, and it's a great fit with us. It's the type of platform that has a high affinity with the early adopter, and it's seen a lot of uptake.  Android has been built on a Java platform, whereas [Firefox Mobile] is based on C and C++ code. Until last year when [the Open Handset Alliance] released the NDK (native development kit) which allowed native code as part of the app, it was simply impossible."

Currently the build is in the alpha stage.  

Mozilla is also eying other platforms as Fennec candidates.  Among them is Microsoft's Windows Mobile.  Microsoft just announced Windows Phone 7 Series, which is likely to be the most anticipated mobile release of the fall.  Windows Phone 7 Series scraps the previous code base in favor of an OS based on the Zune HD's operating system.

A dilemma facing Mozilla is whether to support Windows Mobile 6.5 and lose time on Windows Phone 7 Series development, or give up on aging operating system.  Describes Sullivan, "Now we have the decision: do we target Windows Mobile 6.5 or 7? How much architecture will there be to work with?"

Currently Mozilla's Windows Mobile 6.5 build is in alpha.

Nokia, which recently formed a new alliance with Intel dubbed MeeGo, will also continue to be supported by Mozilla.  Describes Sullivan, "Nokia has been a great partner for us, helped Firefox Mobile to get better, and we hope that continues.  Mozilla has also been in Moblin (Intel's previous Linux-based platform) for a while, and that company has contributed a lot over the years.  It all lines up pretty well, although I don't know how it will all shake out."

The browser's only official release versions have been for Nokia's Maemo OS, which encompasses the N900/N810 smartphones.

Mozilla's biggest competitor in the mobile browsing arena is Opera.  Opera, the top mobile browser maker, is currently trying to get its Opera Mini browser iPhone approved.  If it can win app approval, it will look to increase its marketshare even more significantly even as Mozilla prepares its counterstrike.

Mozilla's Sullivan and Tristan Nitot president of Mozilla Europe have previously said that there is no way it would make an iPhone browser as Apple is too restrictive.  It also nixed making a Blackberry browser, a key business for Opera.  It says the Blackberry's operating system is too limited for a rich browser.

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Confusing statement
By Chapbass on 2/17/2010 9:36:50 AM , Rating: 3
"The browser's only official release versions have been for Nokia's Maemo, N900, and N810 smartphones, and mobile devices."

I normally dont care about grammar/spelling stuff (at least not enough to point it out), but this sentence seems a little confusing. Maemo is an OS, not a phone/mobile device. Fennec is out for the N900 and N810 (pretty sure its not for the N800...but it might be).

Just saying it might be a little confusing to people who don't have an N series tablet.

RE: Confusing statement
By JasonMick on 2/17/2010 9:54:41 AM , Rating: 1
The browser's [Fennec's]
only official release versions [not an alpha or beta release]
have been for [are available for...]
Nokia's Maemo, [a tablet]
N900, and N810 [smart phones]
smartphones, and mobile devices. [see above brackets...].

I feel that is relatively straightforward... there's no grammatical mistakes there (except the last comma which is unnecessary) I can see and it accurately states that the only release (non-beta or alpha) versions of Firefox Mobile have been on the listed Nokia devices, which are either mobile devices or smart phones.

You can Wikipedia Maemo/N900/N810 if you want to find out more. It's outside the scope of this article to try to explain what a N810 smart phone is.

I changed it slightly, though to add the "[tablet]" in so there's no way anyone should now be confused.

RE: Confusing statement
By Drag0nFire on 2/17/2010 10:06:09 AM , Rating: 3
Did you even read his post? Maemo is not a tablet. Maemo is a tablet OPERATING SYSTEM, which you placed next to two devices (both of which run Maemo!).

RE: Confusing statement
By omnicronx on 2/17/2010 11:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
As far as I know, the N810 is considered a tablet (it a big 4 1/2 inch screen, just a bit too big to be considered a phone). Really Fennec supports Maemo and not the device itself. (both of the devices you named are Maemo based, although different versions of)

Also there are already alpha versions for WinMo if anyone wanted to know..

RE: Confusing statement
By stapleton87 on 2/17/2010 12:00:06 PM , Rating: 2
I signed in to say just that, the N810 is a tablet, it has no cell phone functionality. Fennec supports Maemo OS2008 (N800/N810) and Maemo 5 (N900).

RE: Confusing statement
By Chapbass on 2/17/2010 12:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
Mick, you totally missed the point. Let me put it a little more clearly.

There is no such thing as a "Nokia Maemo". It doesn't exist. Maemo is the OS running on the N900/N810/N800.

So your sentence should be something like this:

"The browser's only official release versions have been for Nokia's Maemo-powered N900 and N810 mobile devices."

Or if you really want to, you could put:

"The browser's only official release versions have been for Nokia's Maemo-powered N900 smartphone and N810 internet tablet."

RE: Confusing statement
By Chapbass on 2/17/2010 12:26:22 PM , Rating: 2
Whoops, in both of those quotes it should say "version", not versions.

RE: Confusing statement
By adiposity on 2/17/2010 3:21:32 PM , Rating: 2
Maemo is not a tablet. He doesn't need to Wikipedia Maemo, but perhaps you do.

Maybe you should have said Maemo (N900 and N810).

That might have made more sense.

RE: Confusing statement
By omnicronx on 2/17/2010 3:19:30 PM , Rating: 2
echo echo echo echo...

RE: Confusing statement
By koss on 2/17/2010 9:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
Hey Jason no worries man, don't let some 'lamers' bash you around - you are a professional journalist. And professionalism is what we get here...

I am waiting for the next article, so I can find out what are the cards nVidia have in their sleeve to counter the AmdTI offence with Cypress/Hemlock/DirectX11.

On the flipside: Why do people tend to ignore their honest mistakes and save their pride, even when those mistakes are so damn obvious?

Confusing statement
By Flunk on 2/17/2010 12:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
"The iPhone, one of Google's key competitors, already uses a flavor of C in its apps (Objective C, to be precise)."

Objective C is a JIT-compiled language (like Java, C#) and is much more similar to Java than C. C is compiled to native code which is a different beast entirely.

RE: Confusing statement
By omnicronx on 2/17/2010 1:51:15 PM , Rating: 2
Well its not incorrect, Objective-C is still a superset of C. In fact pretty much all non object oriented code is exactly the same as C.

While its not native code, to say its more like Java is misleading. Its far more like C than it is like Java.

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