Mozilla has said it is "serious about bringing the Firefox experience and technology to mobile devices", and that it "plan[s] to rock it". I've often pondered Mozilla's next move; its successes in the desktop market are unquestionable.
Is it too late?
Opera Mini is a desktop browser for mobile phones. It features tabs, RSS compatibility and is less than 100kb to download to your phone. I've been using it for a couple of weeks on myand I was so impressed that to celebrate, I bought a CD from Amazon while on a train back to London. And it worked. It was an encrypted connection and speedy over 3G. This was the first time I've ever been impressed by any form of mobile Web.
I wonder if 'Firefox Mobile' is too late. My hope is that it isn't. Opera certainly has reason to stand up and say, "Yo, we've done the whole mobile Web thing and we've done it well, so sod off", but Firefox has two things Opera doesn't: open-source foundations and extensions.
The success of Firefox in the desktop market has been a result of its openness and its expandable functionality. Despite boasting some features Opera had been using for some time, Firefox powered ahead, fuelled by passionate developers, hobbyists, unemployed software developers and digital communists. By entering the mobile arena, Mozilla is perfectly positioned to do for mobile what it did for the desktop.
I'm partly pained to predict that Opera Mini will be the leading underdog of the mobile world, because it's a lovely browser and works well. It's just a sad fact of life that the open-source methodology is far more practical in the fast-changing digital world and living proof that if you sit enough monkeys at typewriters, you will get Shakespeare.