Despite the hopes of many, Mozilla made it official today that it will not develop a standalone Firefox browser for the iPhone.
Instead, the browser-maker will continue to pour resources into, its browser companion app. Mozilla said in a blog post:
"People have asked about adding more browserlike 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."
In fact, Mozilla's announcement that it will expand Firefox Home to BlackBerry and Symbian could be an indication that the company is moving away from mobile browsers entirely. As with the iPhone app, Firefox Home for these mobile platforms would tie into the Firefox Sync service to deliver the browsing history, open browser tabs, and notes that you generated on your desktop computer to your mobile phone. While there's no hard timeline yet, Mozilla anticipated that these apps will arrive in "the coming months," the company mentioned in a blog post.
Mozilla also says it will investigate creating a version of Firefox Home for iPad, based on users' requests.
Although Mozilla has long been experimenting with a dedicated Firefox app, the
Firefox Sync, on the other hand, offers convenient cloud-based storage and is comparatively simpler to build than a standalone browser. One of the first implementations of Firefox Sync appeared as an add-on in Firefox for Nokia's Maemo/Meego platform.
New features for Firefox Home
In addition to pushing the syncing-and-storage service to other mobile platforms, Mozilla has also committed to adding features to its iPhone version of Firefox Home. The forthcoming features include being able to synchronize passwords, customize your search engine preference, and share links and updates to Facebook and Twitter directly from the app. Mozilla also aspires to more seamless integrate with Apple's iOS 4 applications, including YouTube, Google Maps, and Safari, the latter of which Firefox Home currently uses as an option for viewing a Web site.