Mozilla releases first mobile Firefox browser

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Mozilla has been steadily creeping toward its goal of releasing the first Firefox browser for mobile phones. On Friday, Firefox 1.0 for Nokia's Maemo--previously code-named Fennec--arrived.

Firefox for the Maemo 5 platform has a few interesting conceits that set it apart from other mobile browsers, like Opera Mobile and Opera Mini. Mozilla is banking on the uniqueness of its claim to fame--third-party, customizable browser extensions--to help its browser win mobile market share. Add-ons, after all, helped make Firefox the top browser alternative to Internet Explorer in the desktop space. To punctuate the importance of add-ons for Firefox's mobile browser, Mozilla also pushed out on Friday the general release of its bookmark and history-syncing extension, Weave Sync 1.0, for both desktop and mobile.

Mozilla's accomplishment with a mobile version of Firefox is a mixed one, and not only because Maemo is a platform relatively few people have heard of. Nokia's open-source, Linux-based Maemo operating system supports mobile Firefox on just two devices--the N900 and the N810, an Internet tablet. To make matters more limited, just two days ago Mozilla unveiled a third release candidate with a last-minute decision to pull wholesale support for Adobe's Flash plug-in from the build, citing unhappiness with the overall standard of quality.

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