Mozilla Plans Mobile Version of Firefox

After successfully changing the game in desktop web browsing, Mozilla now has its sights set on the mobile market with a version of Firefox to appear for mobile phones as early as 2008.

Mozilla is taking mobile browsing seriously, and has already hired at least two high profile mobile developers for the project. Former Openwave browser chief Christian Sejersen has joined Mozilla to head up engineering and development of the browser, and France Telecom researcher Brad Lassey would also join the team.

The company currently provides Mozilla for the Nokia N800, and Minimo -- a Mozilla-based browser for mobile devices -- is available for other mobile devices. However, the company wants to port the Firefox experience to the mobile phone above all else.

Sejersen and Lassey fill out a dedicated team which focuses its efforts on mobile devices. In the second version of the Mozilla codebase, the mobile phone is considered a 'Tier 1' device, meaning platform decisions will be made with the mobile device in mind.

Firefox Mobile operates much like the desktop version, including support for XUL and extensions. Additionally, the group is looking into portability options, where a user could easily port preferences, bookmarks, and so forth between the mobile and the desktop.

Mozilla has stopped short of giving any exact time frame for the release of any browser, only saying it will appear no earlier than 2008, and likely after Firefox 3 is completed.

"This project is focused on Mozilla technology that will ship after Firefox 3," Mozilla engineering vice president Mike Schroepfer wrote. "We're at least as excited as you about getting Mozilla's great web capabilities into your hands, literally, but it's a big undertaking, and won't be something that we can wrap up in time for Firefox 3."

Mozilla said it is also soliciting comments from the developer community on which platforms it should ship mobile Firefox.

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