The long-awaited version of Firefox for portable devices may be heading towards Release Candidate status in the next few days - although you'll need a Maemo device to run it.

As reported over on IT Pro, a spokesman from the Mozilla Foundation has stated that the smartphone-optimised version of Firefox - currently codenamed Fennec -is due in "a matter of days rather than weeks or months."

Sadly for those looking to have a play with the browser - which promises to bring most of the desktop features across to mobile platforms, including support for extensions and HTML 5 rendering - the initial release will require a smartphone running the current version of Maemo Linux, which limits it to Nokia's flagship N900 - a device which hasn't actually been released yet.

Although compatibility has yet to be confirmed, the release candidate of Fennec should also work with Nokia's prior N810 Internet Tablet, which uses a similar release of Maemo Linux. Sadly - and as the name suggests - the N810 does not feature any 'phone capabilities, which does mean users wanting to play with Fennec as soon as it is released will need to carry two devices around with them.

Despite this restriction - which is simply an artifact of the use of the Maemo platform to develop the browser - the launch of Fennec should cause stirs in a relatively stagnant mobile browsing market - and more so when it spreads to other smartphone platforms including Google's Android early next year.

For now, if you want to play with a modern browser that syncs with your desktop but don't have an N900 or N810, you might want to check out Opera Mini or its big brother Opera Mobile.

Any Maemo users looking forward to getting their hands on Fennec, or will it remain a toy until it's ported to a more popular smartphone platform? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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