We’re spoiled when it comes to choice for which browser to use on our desktop computers, there are more out there than you can count with one hand, but on mobile it’s a little bit different. Most people stick to what’s bundled on their device and thanks to operators taking too much time to validate a software update or device manufacturers not even caring about issuing an update at all, the browser on your phone become the only way to access the internet and it’s stuck in time. Mozilla, looking to capitalize on the popularity of their brand, started working on porting Firefox to mobile devices around this time last year. Back then the project was called Fennec. Today they’ve announced that they’re shipping a Release Candidate of Firefox 4 for Mobile, and that if everything goes well it’ll be labeled final soon after. Currently it’s available for Android and Maemo, and as far as we know there are no plans to bring it to other platforms.
Looking at what else is out there, the stock browser on Android is actually one of the best browsers on the market. Competing with it is going to be hard, but folks like Opera, who’ve released Opera Mobile for both Android tablets and Android smartphones at CTIA today, have bundled features such as the ability to sync bookmarks and share the page you’re currently viewing to your social network in an attempt to differentiate. Let’s not forget the famous Opera start page that makes navigating to your favorite websites an order of magnitude easier than having to scroll through a list of bookmarks.
How long until we see folks like Flock or RockMelt bring their social media centered browsers to mobile devices? How long until Microsoft ships IE 9 for Windows Phone? When, if ever, will Nokia release PR 2.0 for Symbian^3 devices so they too can have a decent browsing experience? The world may never know.