Mozilla: No Firefox browser for the iPhone

By on September 30, 2010, 10:46 AM
Mozilla has unveiled its plans for the iPhone platform. These include focusing on Firefox Home (an app that provides access to Firefox bookmarks, tabs, and history but no actual browser experience), without letting Firefox Home evolve into something that users could actually call Firefox for the iPhone. Facebook and Twitter integration, Panorama settings, as well as tab group and password sync are all possible features for future versions of Firefox Home. Separately, Mozilla is also working on bringing Firefox Home to the BlackBerry and Symbian mobile phone platforms in the coming months.

The company has reiterated, however, that it will not be doing a full-blown version of Firefox for iPhone. It doesn't explicitly say iOS, however, implying that there could possibly be an iPad version in the works. Under a section titled "No Firefox Browser for the iPhone," Mozilla simply says: "We are working to bring as much of your Firefox experience as possible to Firefox Home. People have asked about adding more browser-like features to Firefox Home, but there are technical and logistical restrictions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to build the full Firefox browser for the iPhone. We are focused on building Firefox Home as a rich, cloud-based application and making it a valuable product that people will continue to love and use."

The challenges for a real full Firefox on iOS aren't as difficult as they once were: Apple recently loosened its App Store guidelines. Still, third-party browser companies may find it tricky to write a comprehensive rendering engine with JavaScript support that would really mean having a completely different browser. That said, Opera managed to get the Opera Mini approved for the iPhone and iPod touch, so it's definitely possible.


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