June 30, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Firefox commands a great level of respect and user share in the desktop browser wars. How well do you think it would fare going up against mobile browsers on Android? The recent release of the Android native development kit has opened up the possibility that Fennec, the mobile version of Firefox, could appear on Android phones, mobile internet devices, and netbooks in the future. The Android NDK makes that task easier now that Mozilla could build an app in native code rather than Java.
Mozilla VP of Mobile Jay Sullivan has said:
“Developers are taking a look at the NDK to see if it provides the capabilities we need to bring Fennec to Android. If it’s possible, I think our community would be interested in doing it, because Android will be appearing on more smartphones with the capabilities to provide a good browsing experience.”
Android’s browser options currently consist of the standard app built on WebKit and third-party apps Steel and Opera. All three are good apps, but I would welcome Fennec with open arms. It has tabs, add-ons, Firefox awesome bar, and gestures — features I wouldn’t mind having on my G1 if packaged correctly.
Keep in mind that Fennec is still in alpha/beta phase depending on the platform, so an Android release is a long way off if Mozilla decide to explore that option. This is just in the “maybe” phase but in the interest of choice, let’s hope they say yes to Android.