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Mozilla mobilizes for mobile Firefox browser

'We plan to rock it'

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Mozilla is prepping a mobile version of Firefox, the world's most popular open-source web browser.

"People ask us all the time about what Mozilla's going to do about the mobile web," reads a blog post from VP of engineering Mike Schroepfer, "and I'm very excited to announce that we plan to rock it."

He says the company will introduce a mobile version of Firefox at some unspecified date after December 31, 2007. It will run Firefox extensions, and developers will have the power to build their own apps for the browser via Mozilla's user interface language (XUL).

With this in mind, Schroepfer says, Mozilla has made mobile tools a very important part of Mozilla2, an upcoming overhaul of its overarching applications development framework. "Mozilla will add mobile devices to the first class/tier-1 platform set for Mozilla2," he explains. "This means we will make core platform decisions with mobile devices as first-class citizens."

That's about all he has to say about the browser itself. But he also announced that Mozilla is expanding its "small team of full-time mobile contributors to focus on focus on the technology and application needs of mobile devices". The team now includes Christian Sejersen, former head of browsers at mobile pioneer OpenWave, and Brad Lassey, who just joined from France Telecom R&D.

As Schroepfer points out, a Mozilla-based browser is already available for Nokia's N800 wireless handheld. But the company has yet to decide which devices Mobile Firefox will run on.

With competitors like Opera already offering mobile browsers, Mozilla is a bit late to the party. But this doesn't faze Schroepfer. "Bringing Firefox add-ons, the Mozilla platform (including XUL), open source, and a large and passionate community to the closed and fragmented mobile platform will do the world some serious good," he says. ®

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