Mobile Firefox release candidate coming as early as next week

Screen shot 2009-12-09 at [ December 9 ] 9.59.35 AM

Though nary but a few screenshots have been shown of it outside of a few alpha builds released months ago, the words “Mobile Firefox” are enough to get most geeks a bit hot around the collar.

The wait is almost over – for some, at least. Sometime next week, we can expect to get our first real taste of what Mozilla’s got cooking, as they plan to wrap up their first release candidate. Alas, it won’t be launching on a platform that most will have access to.

As they’ve been saying for a few months, the first release of Firefox Mobile will be for Maemo 5 on the Nokia N900. The guys over at CNet met up with Mozilla’s VP of Mobile, Jay Sullivan, and managed to get a few details:

  • Release candidate next week, final release within a few weeks
  • Adblock Plus and around 30 other extensions are already playing friendly with Mobile Firefox, though they need some tweaking for the smaller screen
  • Firefox won’t be the default browser on Maemo 5, though Nokia is considering the switch for Maemo 6 (which is coming in late 2010. We scooped the details and screenshots of Maemo 6 back in May.
  • While they need pretty beefy hardware to make Mobile Firefox tick, the N900 isn’t the bottom line. “Everything now on the mid- to high-end is fine.”
  • The Windows Mobile build is 3-4 months behind the Maemo build
  • They’re focusing on webapp features. In its current state, web apps in Mobile Firefox can pull data from the accelerometer and GPS, and store data in memory for offline use
  • In 2010, they plan to add multitouch support, haptic feedback, camera usage, WebGL, and improved Javascript support.
  • Sullivan sees 80% of applications becoming web-based within the next 3 years – which, unless he’s not including games in that metric, seems a bit high to me. WebGL is great and all, but convincing game developers to stray from native platform languages is a tough battle to fight.