Get ready to throw out that WAP browser on your mobile phone (if you haven’t already). The iPhone, with its fully-functioning Safari browser, showed us that mobile browsing need not be a compromise. Now, the folks at Mozilla are working on a mobile version of Firefox.
A Firefox Web browser already exists for the Nokia N800, but this effort will expand Firefox’s mobile reach to many more handsets, especially as they come standard with more memory. (64 MB of DRAM seems to be the minimum that will be required). Mobile Firefox won’t be available until next year, at the earliest. But just as on the desktop, it will be an open platform on top of which anyone can build add-on applications. And that’s good news for mobile computing.
The decision to throw Firefox into the mobile ring is just one more piece of evidence for something that is becoming increasingly clear: The phone is the computer.
As a Mac laptop user, I used Safari for years, until I switched to Firefox. At a certain point, it just eclipsed what I could do on Safari (primarily because of all the add-on applications that became available and the greater flexibility of the core browser). I expect the same thing will happen eventually in the mobile space—if Steve Jobs allows Firefox on the iPhone, that is.
But my guess is that he will have to because it will be available on other phones, and the iPhone will never be able to afford to be seen as lagging in the mobile browsing arena. Of course, this assumes that Firefox quickly will get to the point where it can provide a better mobile browsing experience than the mobile version of Safari. But judging by history, I think it will.