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Mozilla chairman sets sights on mobile devices

What's the future of Mozilla? The chairman, Mitchell Baker, knows.

Mozilla's Chairman Mitchell Baker talked about "opening the mobile Web" this morning at the Web 2.0 Expo. While not discussing planned functionality in future products, Baker's vision of tomorrow's browser is less Minority Report and semantic search (see Hakia and Powerset) and more about making browsing a simpler experience by taking advantage of your browser history. She also vaguely mentioned Mozilla's plans to step into the mobile browser market later this year with a browser currently code-named "Fennec."

Mozilla has already taken the first steps to get to such a place in Firefox 3. The "awesome bar" will pull up Web pages you've visited as you type them into the address bar. Going forward Baker said she wanted to see the same easy and simple experience make its way into mobile variants of Firefox on all devices.

Mitchell Baker
Mitchell Baker speaks at the Web 2.0 Expo. Seth Rosenblatt/CNET Networks

Despite the fact there's not an official variant of Firefox for mobile devices outside of Minimo, which is far from the experience Baker was describing, she has a bold vision for what she thinks browsing on mobile devices should be like. Baker thinks one of the most important factors is making it so people won't have to learn two different systems of browsing when using different devices. To a certain extent, Apple has already done this with the iPhone and the miniaturized version of Safari, but Mozilla's vision centers more around having that experience be the same no matter what device you're on.

Baker also rallied the crowd around the idea of ditching some of the "baggage" that's come in the technology world. She noted that browsers are coming up on being 15 years old, while the desktop and laptop hardware that runs them is twice the age, "our industry is wizards for technical innovations...the ability to overcome technical limitations is within our grasp."