Feeds

Opera and Mozilla step up mobile browser pressure

Competition heats up

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The first key milestone on the road to a genuinely appealing mobile web experience is an effective browser, and the competition to provide that vital tool is heating up. The Apple Safari open source platform has made the running so far, both in the iPhone and Nokia's homegrown browser, which is Safari-based.

Microsoft is still struggling to make Internet Explorer really at home on a mobile device and Google's promised offering has not yet materialised. Outside Safari, the strongest contender has been Opera, which has now signed up new allies Freescale and NEC to push its technology further into the mobile mainstream – just as internet players like Mozilla raise their own challenge, ahead of the inevitable attack from Google.

Opera, though it gained tiny market share on the PC, has fared far better against Microsoft in the mobile and embedded worlds, and recently has been doing a good job of partnering with key chipmakers to marry its browser with their handset architectures.

In May, it announced a software development kit (SDK), codeveloped with Texas Instruments, for the latter's DaVinci platform for streaming media devices; and now it has added Freescale.

Using the Opera browser, whose surrounding technologies are increasingly focused on web 2.0 techniques such as widgets, delivers a higher level of customisation than most alternatives. This is increasingly important to service providers of all kinds as they seek differentiation for their multimedia offerings.

Opera, Freescale, and NEC have unveiled a collaborative technology that combines the Opera browser and Opera 9 SDK for Devices, with Freescale's i.MX31 multimedia applications processor, and an Adobe Flash Lite 3 plug-in ported and integrated by NEC. The companies claim this will solve many of the current problems that smartphone users encounter when trying to access media-rich websites.

Meanwhile, open source organisation Mozilla is stepping up efforts to make its Firefox browser dominant on the mobile platform. Already supported by Intel for the UMPC (UltraMobile PC) platform, Mozilla now plans to release a mobile version of its software early next year, geared to cellphones.

Like Opera, it plans to move early to exploit the increases in memory and performance in high end phones, which will support better browsing and multimedia web services – and get into this space before Google and Microsoft.

Mozilla said: "Up until very recently device limitations required writing new mobile browsers from the ground up. Being able to leverage all the investments in the Mozilla platform across both desktops and devices is the right approach."

Mozilla has been building up powerful support behind mobile Firefox in advance of a mainstream launch. There are already Mozilla-based browsers on selected handsets, notably the Nokia Internet Tablet, and the browser is a key element of Ubuntu Mobile, part of the Intel Internet Project. Most recently, ARM and its allies put Firefox at the heart of their own bid to dominate the mobile Linux agenda (see separate item).

Mike Schroepfer, VP of engineering at Mozilla, said: "Each Firefox install is an individual choice by a person to download something that didn't ship by default on their computer. Why not offer that option for mobile devices?"

Copyright © 2007, Wireless Watch

Wireless Watch is published by Rethink Research, a London-based IT publishing and consulting firm. This weekly newsletter delivers in-depth analysis and market research of mobile and wireless for business. Subscription details are here.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
This is how I set about making a fortune with my own startup
Would you leave your well-paid job to chase your dream?
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.