Firefox, the popular “alternative” browser to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, is going mobile – sort of. It will be released for Nokia’s Maemo operating system, yet it won’t be released for the Symbian platform. More surprising still is what developer Mozilla has officially announced about the mobile version of Firefox.
The mobile version of Firefox 3.6, which is now codenamed Fennec, seems to be aimed solely and squarely on the Nokia N900 smartphone/Internet tablet. This device runs Maemo 5, a Linux-based OS that is quite different from Nokia’s mobile Symbian operating system. So anyone looking to get a mobile version of Firefox will have to consider the N900 – or ironically down the line a Windows Mobile powered handset. This is a strange turn of events, given that Windows Mobile handsets will have a mobile version of IE. Of course the other operating system of choice will be Android, but the rumor is that Mozilla has just started work on that version.
This still leaves iPhone and BlackBerry (and likely Palm OS) users on the outside looking in, so to speak. There are no plans for an iPhone version due to the OS environment, while the BlackBerry’s Java-based operating system also causes problems. Thus, no iPhone or BlackBerry version of the Mozilla Firefox browser for the foreseeable future. What this means is that Android will likely get another leg up I think, especially as the mobile Web doesn’t seem like it is going away anytime soon.
AT&T to get Nexus One
Given that AT&T might just lose that successful exclusivity with Apple’s iPhone, it is no surprise that the carrier has been promoting other mobile handsets in recent months. And soon the carrier might be carrying the Google Nexus One smartphone. The rumor mill is going round this week with reports that the Federal Communications Commission has given the go ahead to the carrier for a version of the Nexus One for AT&T’s 3G network.
Currently, users could buy an unlocked version of the Nexus One for $529 and run it on any GSM network, such as AT&T’s 2.5G network, but T-Mobile users could get the handset with contract for $179 (two-year contract).
Qualcomm to Build R&D Center
This week Qualcomm Inc. announced that it would set up a technology research and development center in South Korea for next generation mobile communication technology. It will be co-established with assistance from the South Korean government. This will be the second of such facilities of its kind built by Qualcomm outside of the United States – the other is already established in China.
Qualcomm is further expanding its Korean presence by investing $4 million in local audio chip maker PULSUS Technologies.
This follows an anti-trust ruling filed in South Korea against the company, in which the government found that Qualcomm abused its position in selling chips to mobile phone makers in Korea. But as we’ve seen, this could just be the cost of doing business; and despite setbacks business goes forth.