Why we're (mildly) excited about Firefox Mobile

Windows Mobile is all about having options, sometimes to a fault. If you want someone else to decide how you're going to use your device, go here.

That's why the advent of yet another browser for Windows Mobile is a time for celebration. Opera Mobile, Skyfire, Webkit — they all bring something to the table that Internet Explorer does not. And they're all different enough to make having more than one browser not seem silly.

We're eagerly awaiting the alpha release of Firefox Mobile, aka Fennec (we'll save you the trouble: It's a small desert fox), any day now. And after a quick read through Mozilla's mobile roadmap, we can sum up our excitement with a couple of points (after the jump).

Mozilla Weave

Fennec is being developed by Mozilla, makers of uber-browser Firefox, so it's pretty safe to assume that it should be a competent mobile browser. Fennec and Weave are where it can get really sexy.

A spin through that Fennec roadmap brings us a couple of juicy tidbits:

Release themes

In priority order, here are the key themes of the first Fennec release:

1. Simple, fast navigation to Web content 2. Compatibility with the Web 3. Secure 4. A "whole product" 5. A platform for innovation on mobile

Getting to Web content

  • Awesome bar
  • Search integrated into URL bar
  • Password manager
  • Weave

By comparison, here are results from my browsers on a Windows XP desktop, plus what I run on my Motorola Q9h:

  • Internet Explorer 7.0.5730.13: Scored 12 out of 100 (I think) after about 30 seconds. It rendered so horribly it was hard to tell.
  • Internet Explorer 8 beta (8.0.6001.18241): Scored 15 out of 100.
  • Firefox 3.0.3: Scored 71 out of 100.
  • Safari 3.1.2 (525.21): Scored 75 out of 100.
  • Google Chrome Scored 79 out of 100.
  • Opera Mobile 6.5: Scored 3 out 100.
  • Skyfire Scored 52 out of 100.

So, Fennec appears to have a bit of browsing power under its belt. I'll be interesting to see how older devices handle it. That said, the Fennec roadmap lists Windows Mobile 6 as the earliest version supported.

Not quite drooling - yet

At this point, we're mildly excited about Fennec. Having more options on your Windows Mobile device is a good thing, especially one that's open source. We won't go into full-on drool mode until we see some actual hands-on video and get to try it for ourselves.

But Fennec is looking like it may be a fine addition, along with Skyfire and Opera, to our browsing arsenal.

Phil Nickinson

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!