While every body these days is talking about Firefox 3 and the upcoming Firefox 4, Mozilla has announced that Firefox for mobile is in the making and will be released soon.
It is code-named “Fennec” after a small species of fox with unusually large ears.
Mozilla Labs’ head of user experience, Aza Raskin showed a video of conceptual Firefox mobile.
It is designed for touch-screen interfaces–not multitouch, like the iPhone–the mobile Firefox browser opens up to reveal a bookmarks list and a “plus” button to open a new window. The browser controls are located to the left of the window and are accessible by panning horizontally.
On a question of why not multitouch, Raskin said Firefox should be able to run on the least common denominator of touch devices. Especially for touch-enabled interfaces direct manipulation is key. Along that line of thought, the interface should be operable with a finger. Switching between input methods is time-consuming and annoying, so the user shouldn’t have to switch to a stylus or other secondary form of input. Firefox will work on non-touchscreen devices, but that’s out of scope for this demo.
The standard controls (like back and forward) are located to the left of the page. You get there by gently dragging the page in the appropriate direction. When the controls are visible, the URL bar fades in as well. This makes for a discoverable way to access the chrome, with a huge Fitts’s-law-abiding target. To get rid of the chrome, you just drag the page back to the center, and the controls slide away.
According to Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla’s vice president of engineering:
We’re driven by demand. We’ve been concentrating on other platforms that don’t have (a) browser or didn’t have a good one.
For more information and video click here.