Mozilla: No need for app stores with mobile Firefox

By Justin Mann on
The success of Apple's App store changed the world's opinion about the future of mobile computing. Billions of downloads and mountains of cash were enough to convince Microsoft, Google, RIM and many others that lightweight app development was vital for smartphones in the years ahead. Mozilla, however, has other plans.

They want to see cooperation rather than competition amongst mobile device software, believing their upcoming version of mobile Firefox will be key. "Fennec" is promised to have the fastest JavaScript engine of any mobile browser, giving developers a familiar and powerful environment to code in as opposed to things like the Apple SDK.

Is Mozilla trying to kill app stores? No -- quite the opposite. They seem intent on creating a more homogeneous environment, beneficial to developers and customers alike. Slogans like "There's an app for that" would be truer than ever if a developer could write code guaranteed to run on all big smartphone platforms without extra tweaking.

There are drawbacks, however. Online apps generally require an active Internet connection, and performance of web apps has more to do with connection speed than hardware power. Google, Microsoft and others have already acknowledged this, hence the development of "offline" web-based apps. There is no reason Mozilla can't follow their lead.

How do you think Mozilla could encourage developers to abandon existing app store models and embrace a unified environment?

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