Firefox Mobile alphas due 'in weeks'

October 7, 2008 // 2:05 p.m.

Tags: #browser #firefox #firefox-mobile #handset #mozilla #phone #smartphone #wap #web

If you're salivating at the thought of getting your sticky mitts on a workable build of Mozilla's Firefox Mobile, you might not have too long to wait after all.

During an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Mozilla Foundation's chief executive officer John Lilly revealed that the much-vaunted mobile build of the popular open-source Firefox web browser could hit alpha status as soon as the end of the month.

Describing the project as an attempt to ensure that “the Web on mobile [devices] is more like the Web than what the mobile industry offers today, which is closed, separate networks and not a very good information-getting experience to the user,” Lilly revealed that the first alphas of the Firefox Mobile browser are likely to hit the 'net in “a few weeks.”

With its snazzy interface and promise of a full-scale web experience on a small-screen device, there are plenty of people looking forward to playing with early builds of Firefox Mobile – myself included. What platform the alphas will run on isn't yet known – Linux is almost certainly a given, but whether we'll see Windows Mobile or Symbian builds remains to be seen.

What is known is that iPhone users will be left out in the cold on this one. Gizmodo has it that the Mozilla Foundation will be avoiding developing for the iPhone platform owing to onerous restrictions Apple has placed on the software development kit. While that isn't likely to cause iPhone users too many tears – after all, Flash and Java support notwithstanding, the Safari browser included on the iPhone is just about the best mobile browser currently on the market – it is a stance that the Foundation may well come to regret, given the success of the platform.

Will you be keeping a beady eye on Mozilla's website for the first alpha builds of the mobile browser, or is it ground that others have already ploughed? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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