Mozilla, the firm behind the Firefox web browser expects to release the first version of its mobile internet browser within the next few weeks, while at the same time, it has been reported that Microsoft has ceased development of its own mobile internet browser, code named Deepfish.
In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Mozilla CEO, John Lilly confirmed that the “alpha” release of the mobile phone web browser, code named Fennec will be available before the end of the year. It has been generally expected though that a stable release for the average consumer may not be ready until the end of next year.
Lilly commented that “we [Mozilla] want to make sure that the Web on mobile is more like the Web than what the mobile industry offers today, which is closed, separate networks and not a very good information-getting experience for the user.”
Meanwhile, Microsoft has retired its own mobile browser project, Deepfish which had been designed to display web pages on mobile phones exactly as they look on a normal computer – and allow users to zoom in to read the content.
The platform would have parsed the webpages via a Microsoft server before delivering them to the mobile phone, in a similar way to how the Opera java based mobile browser works.
“Mobile browsing is now advancing to the point where mobile devices rival the desktop – which is what we wanted to see,” according to a posting on Microsoft’s Live Labs website. The company said that user feedback from the browser users would influence any future products it might be working on.
Earlier this year, ABI Research forecasted that overall growth in the mobile browser category will lead to a total pre-installed revenue of $492 million by 2013, driven by the trends of more complex HTML-based browser integration.
“Device manufacturers are interested in open-source solutions where there is a desire for increased control of their software footprint, and where they can bring internal programming resources to bear,” says research director Michael Wolf. “At the same time, vendors such as Opera are seeing strong growth in their mobile browser offerings, which provide the ability to access Web pages with advanced features such as zoom, bookmark syncing, and landscape mode, while also permitting handset vendors and operators to focus development resources elsewhere.”
On the web: San Jose Mercury News – Microsoft Live Labs