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Hands-on look at Firefox Home for iPhone

The new Firefox app for iPhone may not be a full-fledged browser, but it can be useful nonetheless. See how it works in this hands-on with video review.

Apple isn't likely to allow Firefox or any other competing HTML Web browser on its iOS platform anytime soon, but Mozilla's Firefox Home for iPhone, released to the App Store late last week, does at least bring the heart of the Firefox browser to your iPhone: your URLs. 

Before getting into what Firefox Home is, you should know that a browser is the one important thing it's not.

Firefox Home is not a WebKit browser, though it does incorporate a WebKit viewer, and unlike Opera Mini for iPhone, it's not  a proxy-based Web browser that displays prerendered Web pages.

Instead, Firefox Home is essentially a syncing app that ties into the cloud-based Firefox Sync service that stores data about your browsing history, bookmarks, and open browser tabs online. Once you set up Firefox Sync as an extension to Firefox on your computer, you'll be able to log into Firefox Home from the iPhone and start accessing those URLs.

Getting to tabs and our browsing history is much more convenient in the app than it is to search anew for half-remembered links. Once you have a link open in that WebKit-based viewer we mentioned, you can also launch it in Safari to interact with it there. Firefox Home isn't a Safari replacement, but it isn't meant to be. Instead, think of it as a reference app for your desktop Firefox browsing.

Since Firefox Home doesn't operate like the Web browser some folks expect it to be, we recommend watching our hands-on video review to give you an idea of the app in action.