Mozilla confirmed today that its working on entering the iPad browser market with prototype “Junior.” Though that’s the code name for now, it presumably will be a Firefox app for the iPad.
Mozilla is calling Junior “an iPad browser that makes browsing more fun, more ergonomic and re-thinks browser user experience from the ground up.” Alex Limi of the Product Design Strategy team at Mozilla, describes Safari for iPad as “a miserable experience” and in referring to Junior, said “We wanted to make something entirely new. We wanted to look into how we could reinvent the browser for a new form factor.”
To start off with its reinvention, the company is stripping Junior of tab functionality. The strategy is to make the browser a completely full-screen experience and from the screenshots, that’s exactly what it looks like so far. There’s only two navigation buttons and they overlay the web page itself about two-thirds down from the top of the screen. On the left there’s a back arrow button to return to the last visited page and on the right is a plus button. The plus button acts as the go-to destination whenever you want to do something new. Here you can see recently visited websites in a thumbnail view at the top and search/URL bar at the bottom.
Whether leaving out tabs in Junior is a good idea can be disputed, but Mozilla makes up for the feature that’s in almost all modern browsers by including something that’s in very few: multiple account support. For families or friends sharing one iPad, Junior will allow people to log in and out of accounts with personalized settings tailored for their web browsing habits.
It’s shaping up to be at least a unique entry into the iPad browser market, but Junior has a long way to go as its only a prototype right now so don’t expect to find it in the App Store soon.