Mozilla: No need for app stores with mobile Firefox

By Justin Mann on December 18, 2009, 4:30 PM
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?

User Comments: 5

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ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. First let mobile Firefox arrive, work on a multitude of platforms, prove to be fast, compatible and convenient to use, then we'll talk.

I tried the available version on my Windows Mobile phone and found it underwhelming.

Puiu Puiu said:

I agree with ET3D. Firefox will have a very tough fight ahead. But i would still love to see apple suffer a bit ^_^

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Will be interesting to see what comes of this. Not sure i think they will do away with app stores though. Apple will probably just block this firefox mobile anyway.

tengeta tengeta said:

The app store is just a nickel and dime factory to begin with, it would be nice to see a more logical/ethical business model down the road. Unfortunately from what I've read so far Fennec is a little lackluster. The point is valid though, most apps are just an interface to deal with a website you normally go to on your PC.

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think that a good mobile browser will allow third party game stores, and that's possibly what Mozilla is talking about. On the PC there are quite a few web based app and game stores. Actually, the Orange store on my phone is web based, too, so it's not like it's not already happening in Mobile. It's just that a good fully specced browser will likely make this experience more feature rich and streamlined.

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