Mozilla promises a mobile Firefox

The open-source browser is coming to cellphones.

Published October 11, 2007 4:12PM (EDT)

"Wouldn't it be great if your bookmarks, history, extensions, etc. from Firefox on your computer just worked on your phone?" That question comes to us from the blog of Mike Schroepfer, an engineer at Mozilla, who says that the open-source browser project is working to make that situation a reality.

Mozilla is adding developers and resources in an effort to build a Mobile Firefox that runs in much the same way as Firefox does on desktops -- including, importantly, support for add-ons, the constellation of third-party extensions that you can add to Firefox to customize its behavior.

Schroepfer's rationale is simple: Mobile devices are now a leading way for people to access the Web, and they're just now getting fast enough to support advanced applications such as Firefox.

"The user demand for a full browsing experience on mobile devices is clear," he writes. "If you weren't sure about this before you should be after the launch of the iPhone." And the iPhone's just the start -- by 2010 mobile devices will carry chips at least eight times faster than that of Apple's phone, he notes.

Lovely lovely. Schroepfer's not naming a release date for Mobile Firefox. But let the salivating begin.

Sure, Safari on the iPhone is nice, and Opera makes a decent mobile browser too, but neither feels like ... home. Firefox, my faith, my country, the app where I spend countless waking hours and many non-waking ones too -- Firefox, I want to take you with me wherever I go. Soon, perchance, I'll live that dream.

By Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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