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Mozilla Hitting 'Brick Walls' Getting Firefox on Phones 228

Posted by Zonk
from the watch-dino-hit-brick-wall dept.
meteorit writes "Mozilla has been working on a mobile version of Firefox since last year, and is now looking to repeat the success of Firefox on the PC. Although development seems not to have been completed, it is known that informal negotiations have already started with mobile network operators. Firefox Mobile is scheduled to be launched by the end of the year and the inaugural version will be compatible with the Linux and Windows Mobile operating systems. Work is already underway to determine what the browser's UI will look like. In the meantime those negotiations seem to be hitting 'brick walls', as cellphone operators resist the intrusion of the open web onto their platforms."
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Mozilla Hitting 'Brick Walls' Getting Firefox on Phones

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  • As of now (Score:5, Informative)

    by Corpuscavernosa (996139) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:23PM (#22616774)
    Opera is the king of mobile browsers IMHO. IE, as expected, is marginal at best. On my Windows Mobile 6 phone, Opera cruises along.

    As a loyal Firefox user, I'd LOVE to see a mobile version if it can compete with the speed of Opera.

    • Re:As of now (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Brian Gordon (987471) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:46PM (#22616916)
      I'm not a loyal anything user, but I really dislike the locked-down American cellphone situation. I'm not using my buying power to support apple/at&t for their nazi control over their device (even if you jailbreak it, you paid for the lock and so supported it) or any other platform, including opera mobile. Obviously I can't get by without a cellphone, but I just have a basic $20 KRAZR, no smart phone nonsense, and no putting $500 in the pockets of someone using it to get more locked down phones into the hands of the public.
      • Re:As of now (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pas256 (914134) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @04:34PM (#22617300) Homepage
        The question is, why even both with the carriers... Firefox should be going straight to the manufacturers!
        • Does FireFox even support their platform? Is there a Symbian port of Gecko, and how does it compare, feature-wise and in terms of memory footprint, to the WebKit port that Nokia are funding?
      • Re:As of now (Score:4, Informative)

        by D4MO (78537) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @05:55PM (#22617900)
        The amusing thing is that the most "open" platform at the moment is windows mobile. Even if you get a subsidised / locked one, it's easy to modify. There's a very active ROM scene (though it's a legal grey area), you can install whatever you like, and write what you want for it in C++ or .Net compact framework. I have skype, jabber client, remote desktop, vnc.

        Getting symbian updates, even on unlocked phone is entirely at the whim of the manufacture, which usually doesn't happen.

        But yeah, the cost of an unlocked phone is prohibitive.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stbill79 (1227700)
        Agreed - AT&T is a definite negative to the US tech market. I'd say slice 'n dice them back up into 10 competing companies, but in the least they need to be restricted from controlling both the ISP/backbone/cable business and also a large part of the wireless system. The wireless carriers will not have their cake and eat it to. Prices have not come down while technology has improved leaps and bounds - in the US, we all still pay at least $40-$50/month for basic phone service. There are two markets and
      • It's your choice as a consumer to buy locked down phones, or not. It's not an American cellphone situation. It's called market forces. As you yourself have said, you paid $20 for a KRAZR. Which is oddly what most budget shoppers do. Yes it's locked down, but you paid once again, $20. Same goes for the iPhone crowd. If they want the iPhone they have to play by the carriers rules. Nothing says they HAVE to buy an iPhone. It's their problem if they want a status symbol that badly. Cellphones cost money to make
    • Re:As of now (Score:5, Informative)

      by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:48PM (#22616924)

      As a loyal Firefox user, I'd LOVE to see a mobile version if it can compete with the speed of Opera.
      With Opera (mini and, i think, mobile), the pages you request are sent via Opera's servers, where they are put through some kind of compression. The upshot is that not only is Opera quicker, but I can visit almost twice the number of pages for my money. In practice, given that you can set it to not download pictures, I get about 3 times more pages-per-buck than when I use the browser the phone comes with.

      I could seriously become a fanboy at this rate.
      • Re:As of now (Score:5, Informative)

        by nxtw (866177) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @04:05PM (#22617036)
        Opera Mobile is a regular web browser that does not go through Opera's servers. It'll use your device's connection settings, so it could end up connecting through your wireless provider's WAP/HTTP gateway if your device is set up to use it. (The rendering engine in the current version of Opera Mobile is old - the PC & Wii versions are newer)

        Opera Mini is a completely different product.
        • Opera mini connects through that same WAP/HTTP gateway. It's just that you are, effectively, visiting pages via Opera's proxy server.
      • by hitmark (640295)
        only opera mini use the compression trick of the two. but there is a competing browser for windows mobile based phones, but the name slips me.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by zlogic (892404)
        Some forums, powered by vBulletin, are over 120 kilobytes per page (without images), probably has to do something with badly formatted HTML and a lot of Javascript. Opera's servers compress these to about 6-8 KB, also without images. That's more than 10 times less traffic.
      • On the other hand, all data you retrieve goes through Opera's servers.
        • Re:As of now (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Naughty Bob (1004174) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @04:43PM (#22617374)
          Yup, that's the downside. And one I can accept, though others might feel differently.

          I value my privacy, but have judged that, so long as I avoid sending sensitive passwords, bank card data etc., I am happy for a bunch of Swedish nerds to have access to my mobile browsing data. A damn sight happier than letting my phone company have the same data.
      • by keeboo (724305)
        Try Ziproxy then. It compresses all your data and you may use any browser you want.
      • Maybe, but Firefox has this plugin [amionmyspace.com]. And it's really hard to find a more useful one.
    • Re:As of now (Score:4, Insightful)

      by laffer1 (701823) <luke AT foolishgames DOT com> on Monday March 03, 2008 @02:02AM (#22620912) Homepage Journal
      I realize this won't come out as I intend. I have not been following the development of the mobile version of Firefox, but have they designed it to work in a low memory environment? Many people complain about the memory usage on systems with over a gigabyte of memory. Firefox proponents claim this is due to caching; provided this is true, can the browser run efficiently with almost zero memory for caching?

      I'm shocked they didn't have a company lined up before the effort to port was started.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bunratty (545641)

        No, they have not designed it to work in a low memory environment. The minimum memory requirement for mobile Firefox is the same as for the desktop version: 64 MB. That means that mobile Firefox will be limited to running on smartphones at first. In a few years, even typical mobile phones should come with enough memory to run Firefox. I would think the bigger problems would be the small screen and small keyboard.

        It is common to see complaints about Firefox's memory usage on Slashdot, but in reality very fe

  • Because (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337)
    companies think that free=no good.
    • Re:Because (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RLiegh (247921) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:39PM (#22616878) Homepage Journal
      Not exactly, it's because mobile phone companies think that having complete platform control is a lot more important than allowing an open browser to upset their applecart.

      And from their perspective -they're right. If you don't control the application you want to make sure that the people who do control it are either under your influence, or have similar goals. Open source isn't under their influence, and the goals of open source are diametrically opposite of the manufacturers'.
      • Re:Because (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:56PM (#22616976) Journal
        The consumers are left out of this equation.

        Many will think enough is enough with paying $3 for some crappy midi file for a ring tone and want to run their phone like their pcs.

        I for one refuse to buy high end phones for this reason. I want to run my own apps and not pay through the nose for their drm infested crappy software.

        If you read my posts I am in favor of the free market and not some gnu zealot but when a company dictates how to use something I paid for and halts innovation I get mad.

        I am not the only one and a truly free phone will attract all the developers and therefore bring all teh apps and cool games. After this their business model is done. You can't just lock a whole market up. Eventually someone like lets say google and their andriod sdk will come along and provide serious competition.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by vux984 (928602)
          Eventually someone like lets say google and their andriod sdk will come along and provide serious competition.

          Yeah, lets all bow down at the alter of google. They'll just force us to view ads while data mining our conversations and text messages. I'd sure like to get in on that.
        • Re:Because (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Miseph (979059) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @04:14PM (#22617104) Journal
          I think it's a sign that capitalism is deeply and critically flawed that things are turning out the way they are. It's not a good sign for the free market that we have to resort to socialism in order to restore basic economic and consumer freedoms.

          It's a sinking ship you cling to, just in case you hadn't noticed.
          • by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @06:09PM (#22618000)
            Capitalism is just buyers and sellers. If the buyers keep on buying crap from the sellers, they'll just keep being sold it. Especially when there are alternatives available.
          • Re:Because (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Solandri (704621) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @06:19PM (#22618080)

            I think it's a sign that capitalism is deeply and critically flawed that things are turning out the way they are. It's not a good sign for the free market that we have to resort to socialism in order to restore basic economic and consumer freedoms.
            No, it's not a sign that capitalism is "deeply and critically flawed." Capitalism works most of the time. There are certain localized areas of the solution space where capitalism doesn't work. This includes the Prisoner's Dilemma [wikipedia.org] (where individuals acting in their own best interests arrive at the worst possible outcome for all), the Tragedy of the Commons [wikipedia.org] (where individuals acting in their own best interests arrive at the worst possible outcome for everyone else), and a monopoly [wikipedia.org] (where an individual, company, or cartel controls enough of the market to thwart free market economics). Phone carrier lock-in is just a localized monopoly.

            It's highly unusual for any solution to be effective 100% of the time in all possible cases. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that capitalism doesn't work in certain cases. The key is to recognize those cases, and enact legislation which makes up for those shortcomings (e.g. environmental protection laws, fisheries management, anti-trust laws). Damning capitalism entirely because it fails in certain limited cases is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and about as ideologically boneheaded as believing capitalism is always the best solution. What's needed are laws assuring the phone carrier market operates efficiently - allow people to port their phone numbers, allow non-vendor hardware to operate over the networks, and a cell-phone version of network neutrality where any non-vendor apps can run over the network.

            I haven't quite decided yet about multi-year contracts since they are a legitimately chosen by customers - the problem being that apparently 99% of US customers would rather amortize their purchase and pay more, rather than pay the phone costs lump sum up front for less. At this point the only contract legislation I would support is forcing the telecos to give me a discount once I am out of contract or if I bring my own phone, since then they are no longer subsidizing the phone cost with my monthly fee. As it is right now, I pay the same monthly fee as someone whose monthly fee is subsidizing a $500 phone, even though I bought and paid for my phone myself.

        • Re:Because (Score:4, Funny)

          by garett_spencley (193892) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @04:20PM (#22617166) Journal
          "I for one refuse to buy high end phones for this reason. I want to run my own apps and not pay through the nose for their drm infested crappy software.

          If you read my posts I am in favor of the free market and not some gnu zealot but when a company dictates how to use something I paid for and halts innovation I get mad."
          - Billy Gates

          I love the irony.
        • by Rich0 (548339)
          Firefox took off on the PC because they marketed it to consumers - not megacorps.

          Mozilla being upset about cell phone companies not deploying firefox is about as silly as them being upset about Microsoft bundling it with windows. What did you expect?

          What they need is a PC-based installer that will bluetooth sync with a phone, identify the appropriate version to install, hack into it (with the owner's permission), and install the browser. Then it will take off. That's exactly how it took off on the PC - i
        • I for one refuse to buy high end phones for this reason. I want to run my own apps

          I think it's just on the lower end phones that the DRM lock-in is enforced. I have a Sprint Mogul (HTC Hermes/Titan) running WM6. I have installed literally hundreds of apps and have yet to find one that won't install just by copying a CAB over and clicking it. And with a single registry edit on the phone (also open access) I got unlimited PC tethering on EVDO. Last week I installed a homebrew firmware from that activated the
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by erroneus (253617)
        ...even so, it's only a matter of time.

        Since recently there has been a ruling to the effect of preventing carriers from locking out equipment not sold by them, there will be pure equipment makers who will find generic software offerings such as FireFox mobile quite attractive when adding value to their hardware offerings. The first one to shed their fear of control loss will be the first one to find that giving the consumer what they want often leads to consumer loyalty and enduring profits.
    • by RonnyJ (651856)
      Is 'Firefox Mobile' really going to be offered as completely free to the mobile phone operators though?

      If that's really the case, then why the need for the negotiation mentioned in the topic - let people download it themselves. I suspect, however, that they're looking for some sort of bundling deal.
    • He said, posting from a pub in Berlin, using his Nokia e61.

      it has sfa to do with free software.

      There are three problems.

      1. the american market is a fucking nightmare. American consumers are hopelessly naive and continue to allow the operators to run their little walled gardens.

      2. Firefox is not renowned for it's ability to run in 16mb of ram. Opera can. Works great. Cut the bloat.

      3. Naivete within mozilla org. Wtf would you start with the US.market? everyone in the mobile world knows it's sewn up. It's only
      • by Colin Smith (2679)
        More on 3.

        windows mobile? Linux? Wtf? symbian epoc is the operating system on most phones now...
  • by stokessd (89903) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:24PM (#22616786) Homepage
    There's certainly room for it on the iPhone as well. Safari is all nice, but I would like adblock on it, especially on the edge network when every byte counts.

    Sheldon
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by pebs (654334)
      There's certainly room for it on the iPhone as well. Safari is all nice, but I would like adblock on it, especially on the edge network when every byte counts.

      NoScript [noscript.net] would also help in that respect.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by abigor (540274)
      Well, Adblock for Safari obviously exists: http://safariadblock.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] , so I guess it's just a matter of Apple allowing 3rd party software installs. I don't own an iPhone, so I'm not really sure what the situation is there.
    • Safari (for Mac) has a downloadable ad-blocker addon called PithHelmet; I wouldn't be at all surprised to see it appear for the iPhone at some point.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thsths (31372)

      There's certainly room for it on the iPhone as well.
      The fact that the iPhone is the "most open" platform say it all. Phones are a convenient way for the networks to control customers. This also means that they are not enabling technology. I am confident that Firefox will change this, but it may take some time.

      • The fact that the iPhone is the "most open" platform say it all.

        Given that without Apple's corporate blessing, to develop apps on the iphone up to now has required buffer exploits and security holes, I am having trouble understandig how this counts as "open". I have a Sprint Mogul (HTC Hermes/Titan) running WM6. I have installed literally hundreds of apps and have yet to find one that won't install just by copying a CAB over and clicking it (including, yes, Opera Mobile and Opera Mini as a MIDLet). And wit
    • by porneL (674499)
      If you set up a VPN [pornel.net] you can browse via Privoxy [privoxy.org] (removes ads) and Ziproxy (compresses the rest).
      • by keeboo (724305)
        and Ziproxy (compresses the rest).

        This is a very interesting software for mobile web.
        At work, we do use that as a HTTP WAN accelerator (dedicated city-city links, quite expensive ones) and it's a life saver.
    • The lack of ad blocking doesn't bother me on Mobile Safari as much as it does on the desktop. I tend to double-tap and zoom in on divs, which essentially obscures most ads. I'd actually like to see the same zooming feature on desktop browsers, maybe with the option of auto-resizing the window rather than zooming.

  • by sw155kn1f3 (600118) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:30PM (#22616818)
    Period. You can't stop software spreading if customers want it.
    • by rbanffy (584143)
      Tell that to all the folks running Linux on modded XBox 360s.

      If the hardware maker is really into screwing the user, something phone makers will consider business as usual, they will do it regardless of what users want.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:38PM (#22616866)

    One reason this walled garden approach benefits cellular operators is that they get paid both by subscribers and by content providers. With open Internet access, only subscribers pay. Another benefit is that their approach reduces use of limited 3G bandwidth, meaning carriers don't have to build a more robust network.
    I don't know if the blogger is confused himself or is deliberately muddying the waters - but very little of his argument applies to Firefox at all (even tangentially). He is hop-scotching around (such as the quote included above), making it hard to argue against because he seems to be jumping back and forth randomly between about ten different subjects.

    So let's assume that the title of his little rant is indicative of what he thought he was writing about. Somehow he seems to be drawing the conclusion that, sans an open-source web browser, people aren't allowed to browse websites of their own choosing! I'd love to see Firefox on mobile platforms; but really - even my friends with Windows Mobile phones are checking their Gmail; I see them looking at all sorts of odd pages; and I have never heard them complain that their carrier won't let them visit any arbitrary page. I do hear them complaining about the crappy internet experience they're having, due to the poor design of the browser; but that's a completely different subject (and while Firefox could potentially address that, Safari already does - and it's got nothing to do with the openness of the browser, per se, anyway).

    When the web was first getting onto mobile phones, I realize people weren't given free reign in their browsing habits - but c'mon, that was three or four years ago.
    • by jc42 (318812)
      Hmmm ... This didn't make sense until I realized that, to the cellular providers, "content" includes ads, while to most users, "content" is everything except the ads. With this understanding, it makes sense that the cellular providers would want to keep firefox out, because firefox allows customers to block content (i.e., ads), and the cellular provider loses income from the content (ad) providers.

      More generally, of course, the cellular providers want to be the one deciding which content to block, not the
      • How does the service provider make money from ads on random websites? The website provider makes money, the ad distributor makes money - the service provider does not come into the picture at all. For example, if I visit slashdot using my iPhone on the AT&T network and I click an ad, Slashdot makes money, but neither Apple nor AT&T make a dime off it. Conversely, if I block ads, Slashdot will potentially lose some income, but that wouldn't be a concern to Apple or AT&T.
    • I do hear them complaining about the crappy internet experience they're having, due to the poor design of the browser; but that's a completely different subject (and while Firefox could potentially address that, Safari already does - and it's got nothing to do with the openness of the browser, per se, anyway).

      Safari doesn't work in Vermont, most of New Hampshire and Maine, or other areas not served by AT&T Inc. From the legend at AT&T's coverage viewer [att.com]:

      Excessive use of Partner coverage may subject your service to early termination, in accordance with your service terms. Data services may not be available.

      So for the next four and a half years while the iPhone is still exclusive to AT&T, Safari won't work in those areas unless someone makes a phone-sized Windows PC that can run the Windows version of

  • Their phones?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:51PM (#22616942) Journal
    I thought we owned all own phones like we do computers? Why can't we run our own software? Or develop software for them?

    Can you imagine living in a world where you could not develop programs for your own computer?

    Fuck em!

    Seriously port firefox to andriod only. If enough developers switch to a platform that allows them to compete and run their own software the users will follow. I know many here hate Java but why can't we live in a world that is free?

    Would you rather own a locked down phone or one where all the free apps on the internet run on? I would pick the latter.

    Consumers run WIndows over Linux and MacOSX because its where the apps are at. The phone companies are going to create the ultimate competitor if they are not careful and dictate to the rest of us what to use.

    • by RobBebop (947356)

      As a pretext, I agree with the benefits of openness and software freedom. The point of my response is to address where users who are not tech-geeks would prefer a closed solution.

      I thought we owned all own phones like we do computers? Why can't we run our own software? Or develop software for them?

      We can't run our own software because it hasn't been tested. If loading and executing applications on phones was trivial, you'd see text-message exploits that load ad-software onto your phone and then send copies of the exploited message to your entire contact list. I am speculating here, but the base Operating Systems running

      • We can't run our own software because it hasn't been tested. If loading and executing applications on phones was trivial, you'd see text-message exploits that load ad-software onto your phone and then send copies of the exploited message to your entire contact list

        Uh, what? First off, I can run any app on my (cheap, generic, Nokia) phone that I send via a bluetooth message. I can't send an app via an SMS because they are limited to 160 bytes. I think it's possible to send them via MMS, but I've not tried.

    • by barzok (26681)

      I thought we owned all own phones like we do computers?
      You must not be a Verizon customer^Wvictim.
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:55PM (#22616972) Homepage
    ...not to use a cell phone to browse the web. But I didn't really need another reason. The screen is way too small. Almost no web pages are designed for cell phones. There's no mouse or keyboard. I don't need another monthly bill.
    • by stokessd (89903)
      The small screen thing is valid. I have a iPac 4800 with is 640x480 and surfing with it sucked. The iPhone has an even smaller screen, but the zoom capability is a lot better thought out and surfing is a whole lot better. I'm not saying that to be a fanboi, but I'd expect that as all mobile platforms mature, the limitations of the small screen resolution will be worked around. Apple proved it can be done effectively, and I'm sure the android folks will be equally effective.

      The lack of a mouse is not a
    • by Mattsson (105422)
      There's plenty of situations where having internet-applications like a browser or a map-tool or a SSH-terminal is really useful.
      It's dumb to use a mobile phone for leisure-browsing, that doesn't make it useless to have access to a "real" web browser in the phone.
      Wouldn't buy one of those "smart"-phones though... They don't offer much useful functionality over a regular one. With my mainstream, non-3G, Sony-Ericsson I can access the web, search maps, listen to music, use SSH, have a calendar, adressbook, rea
  • Symbian OS? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Evan Meakyl (762695) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @03:59PM (#22617000)
    I am glad that Firefox is availaible on the Windows & linux phone, but why nothing is (seems?) to be done regarding the Symbian OS? (wikipedia says that it is "the leading OS in the 'smart mobile device' market. Statistics published February 2007 showed that Symbian OS had a 67% share of the 'smart mobile device' market,"

    Does someone have some information about the "why?" (I know you can tell me that if I am willing, I can start developping it myself, but actually I have to much projects to cope with...)

    And another question: I own a Nokia E-61. If Firefox is not planed for Symbian OS, I am willing to install Linux Mobile on it. Can someone give me a pointer to what I should do to do this?
    • Re:Symbian OS? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 02, 2008 @04:18PM (#22617146)
      The problem is that Symbian, in C++, is deeply unpleasant to develop for, and very different to Palm, Windows CE or really, anything else.

      The documentation is atrocious - there aren't many examples in it, and as opposed to Win32, where you can usually figure out how to use a function from the MSDN library's description of it, trying to do that will generally result in something that fails in an obscure way. As a rule the only sure way to find out how something is done is to find someone else who's already done it and try to figure out what they did that makes it work.

      Symbian has only recently ported stdlib to it properly, in what I presume is an act of desperation to try and get people to develop for it. V9 solves the problem where all applications had to be DLLs with no global storage allowed, but it also adds a particularly paranoid code-signing system where your app has to be signed before it is possible to run it outside of the emulator.

      That's been my experience, anyway. However - there is a whitepaper on how Opera was ported to Symbian. I can't find a freely accessible version of it right now, but it's a fascinating read and it illustrates full well why porting Mozilla would be very, very difficult.
    • by saihung (19097)
      I don't understand this entire conversation. I have an unlocked Nokia N75, which is a Symbian phone. I can install any software I please on it, and as long as there's EDGE or even GPRS coverage, I can do what I like with the so-called "open web." For that matter, even though the locked AT&T version of the N75 was loaded with crapware, you could still install your own software on it.

      I don't care about waiting for the phone companies to agree. It's my phone, I own it, I pay for unlimited data, and I'l
      • > I'll install what I like. Now gimme some candy, Mozilla!
        ok so you agree that you can't install Firefox because Firefox for Symbian doesn't exist?

        > Aside: Nokia's "Web" browser is pretty much the best mobile browser I've ever used.
        Stop kidding!! Opera is quite good (and of course far better than the symbian browser), but there are still some problems!
        Where can I change the user agent? How can I get ride of the few bugs which are poising my browsing experience? Why is it so slow? Why *each time* I am
  • I have a Treo and use Sprint for my network. The browser they supply is rigged so that I can not download anything bigger than a couple of k in size. Not even a full SlashDot web page! This prevents me from downloading any media files that I did not purchase from them and also any applications I might like to run on it. They are attempting a complete lockin situation by virtue of keeping me from using anything I don't buy from them. I have news for them, I WONT buy from them because they won't let me use wh
  • Opera mini is more than just a browser. They have a proxy server that grabs the page, and re-renders it to suit your phone's screen. That causes a very slight delay, while their server re-renders the page, but it saves a heck of a lot of bandwidth. All images are resized. Long lists are collapsed etc.

    I'm not sure that Firefox will be able to compete in this arena without creating a proxy server system of their own. I'm not against them trying, I just want to make it clear to those of you who haven't used

  • There is nothing here about "Mozilla Hitting 'Brick Walls' Getting Firefox on Phones".

    Some blogger is *talking* about brick walls and speculating that they might make it hard to get Firefox on phones. There is no data showing that is actually the case.
    • Some blogger is *talking* about brick walls and speculating that they might make it hard to get Firefox on phones. There is no data showing that is actually the case.

      In the United States, the CDMA networks of Verizon and Sprint have better coverage than the GSM/UMTS networks of AT&T and T-Mobile. Mobile phones designed for use on CDMA networks tend to use Qualcomm's BREW system. Every time you recompile and relink a program on a BREW phone, you have to pay 4 USD to get the new binary signed so that you can run it on your own phone. Distributing a binary to testers is even more expensive. See criticism of BREW on Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] and its references for details.

  • As the summary states, Mozilla has had a beta for Windows Mobile devices for some time. I've used several versions of it, on a Motorola Q (~300mhz CPU, 16mb RAM, WinMo5) and was not especially impressed, especially in comparison to IE or Opera.

    First of all, it's incredibly slow. Page renders take a very, very long time. The interface is also pretty bad on a Smartphone, but perhaps is better on a PocketPC. It also is quite buggy, and locks up / crashes frequently. But then, it is a beta.

    Really, I don't
  • Firefox on mobiles is total vapor. The realities of today's mobile industry are irrelevant in a discussion of Firefox on mobiles. By the time Firefox ships for mobiles, if it ever does, the industry will be very different.

    Apple always pushed WebKit to be both smaller and faster in every way possible. Then last year they shipped it on a 400 MHz, 128MB RAM, 4GB storage device and it runs great. Obviously they had mobiles in mind from the start of the WebKit project. But even on Windows, Safari is twice as fas
  • by Jamie Lokier (104820) on Sunday March 02, 2008 @08:47PM (#22619082) Homepage
    I'm on the 3 network in the UK. The internet facility is quite good: we have HSDPA, advertised as "up to 2.8Mbit/s". I've seen about 2Mbit/s at best, however download rates are sensitive to latency too. The latency is extremely variable, anything from 150ms up to 30 seconds for a ping, independent of signal quality. Whether it's usable or not is therefore also rather variable. Still, when it works, it's quite nice.

    I pay a flat rate of approx £10 (US $20) to fetch up to 3GB/month, which I've never reached on it. Therefore, I'm quite happy with the price, and I don't worry at all about data charges.

    It's not a walled garden: the whole internet is accessible. That's nice.

    But when I visit good old Google, at their normal URLs, I find the search results are filtered by Google. I'm not sure, it may be that Google's "Safe Search" feature is switched on when using a mobile. But I notice that there are no settings to turn it off: I'm stuck with filtered results, whether I like them or not. And there's no text saying the results are filtered.

    Another thing I noticed is that the BBC News page redirects to a "mobile-optimised" version which doesn't have what I want on it. That's very annoying; I would really like to be able to visit the normal page.

    I wouldn't be surprised if this has nothing to do with the mobile network, and is done by the web sites themselves detecting a mobile client. It is very annoying, especially when the site in question provides no way to access the normal site.

    -- Jamie

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