Print 10 comment(s) - last by WalksTheWalk.. on Jun 19 at 2:30 PM

Mozilla treads a fine line between insulting and lavish praise on Apple

Mozilla Foundation's Alex Limi was pretty bold this week calling Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) iOS version of Safari "a miserable experience".  But Mr. Limi, whose firm is seeking to become one of only a handful of true third-party browsers on iOS, back-pedaled a bit saying that Apple's built-in browser was still better than third-party browsers.

But he's confident that Firefox "Junior", the upcoming prototype app for the iPad, will be even better than Safari.  He comments, "So here comes the fun stuff.  There are a lot of reasons we should be on iOS even though we can't bring our rendering engine there.  We wanted to make something entirely new. We wanted to look into how we could reinvent the browser for a new form factor."

So how's the prototype shaping up?

Well the biggest missing feature a present is that there are no tabs.  But the browser otherwise looks slick in demoes, driven by a pair of button clusters midway up the screen.  On the right is a "+" button, which pops up a URL/search bar, "Favorites" text/icons on the side, and recent webpages up top.

Firefox Junior Firefox Junior Firefox Junior
[Image Source: The Verge]

The left button cluster houses forward, backward, and refresh buttons.

The browser currently supports multiple accounts, each with their own favorites.  Private browsing (for you iPad porn fiends) is also supported.  Mr. Limi says that the final feature set is still up in the air and being actively debated.

Interestingly, he also adds fire to the rumor that Google Inc. (GOOG) will for some reason add a Chrome browser app for iOS.  As unlikely as that seems, given Apple and Google's adversarial relationship Mr. Limi claims that iOS Chrome will land "soon".

Apple first relaxed iOS browser restrictions a few years back.  But it wasn't until April 2010 that the company approved a true third party browser -- Opera Mini by Opera Software ASA (OSE:OPERA).  Since then a variety of browsers have come out, including Atomic, Dolphin, Mercury, and Skyfire.  But Mozilla insists the best is yet to come.

Source: The Verge

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By sprockkets on 6/18/2012 2:01:17 PM , Rating: 2
Opera does all the rendering on their own servers thus allowing it to be more than a skin. ff will never be approved.

RE: no
By StevoLincolnite on 6/18/2012 3:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
Really? Never knew. It should in theory help with battery life too.

Dial-Up ISP's here in Australia have been doing something similar for awhile now. - They render and compress websites/images and then shove them down the tiny 56k pipe.

It's actually a very dramatic speed boost, image quality suffers, but if you have to look at an image you can load it up separately without the compression anyway.

RE: no
By kleinma on 6/18/2012 5:45:47 PM , Rating: 2
Opera Mini yes, not Opera Mobile which is their actual full mobile browser. I am guessing Opera Mobile is not available on iOS (it is on other mobile platforms like android).

Skyfire works the same way, where it renders the pages on the server and spits down a "view" of the page to you. It works ok with some things, but if I remember right, there were some questionable items in the EULA for some of these browsers. At the very least, I would not do any banking or financial type transactions on a browser that is not directly connecting to the website I am trying to go to, but sending commands and credentials to a 3rd party server first for rendering.

RE: no
By Samus on 6/19/2012 1:28:12 AM , Rating: 2
what's 56k? ;)

RE: no
By WalksTheWalk on 6/19/2012 2:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
56K = Hello 1997

RE: no
By Trisped on 6/18/2012 5:14:12 PM , Rating: 2
...even though we can't bring our rendering engine there.
It sounds like FF junior will be nothing more then a wrapper over the existing iOS rendering engine. In essence you are getting the same web page viewer, just paired with a more feature rich skin.

RE: no
By Wolfpup on 6/19/2012 10:04:25 AM , Rating: 2
It's sounding like this ISN'T a true browser though? Just another front end...but at least made by Mozilla?

If so...well, I'll still probably use it, though obviously wish I could get real Firefox on iOS, and the fact that I can't is a point in Android (and Windows') favor.

Where is the DOJ?
By GotThumbs on 6/18/2012 5:01:53 PM , Rating: 4
"Apple first relaxed iOS browser restrictions a few years back. But it wasn't until April 2010 that the company approved a true third party browser"

Even though Apple now "Allows" third party browsers...I'm still waiting for the DOJ to file suit against Apple's Anti-competitive operations. MS NEVER prevented users from installing third party browsers...and still got shafted by the DOJ and EU community. Apple is far above the level of restrictions MS ever was. Apple must be sleeping around quite alot to avoid the inevitable.

RE: Where is the DOJ?
By sprockkets on 6/18/2012 6:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but just so you know, winrt will not allow 3rd party browsers either.

RE: Where is the DOJ?
By WalksTheWalk on 6/19/2012 2:30:46 PM , Rating: 2
MS and Apple both cleverly allow different web browsers even though they are restricted to whatever things either of them can dream up. IMO, if Apple continues to dominate the tablet space, their biggest problem will their app approval process. It's a black box and the DOJ and EU aren't going to like it when they get a bunch of complaints.

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