Mozilla Working on Mystery iPhone App

Om Malik:

Earlier today when I interviewed Mozilla CEO John Lilly onstage at the Play conference, an annual confab organized by the students of the Haas School of Business at the University of Berkeley, he hinted that the company was going to launch a brand new application for the iPhone, though he declined to reveal any details. “Mozilla will release an app to the iPhone App Store in the next few weeks,” Lilly said. “It’ll surprise people.”

Malik guesses that it has something to do with Weave, Mozilla’s still-in-progress sync service. That’d be my guess as well. But I strongly doubt that they’re working on a mobile web browser, as Kevin C. Tofel guesses here. Tofel points to the fact that Apple has approved numerous third-party web browser apps, but what he overlooks is that all of those apps are using the iPhone’s system-standard WebKit framework for rendering and JavaScript. And none of those browsers run in the background, like MobileSafari does. If Mozilla is working on an iPhone browser of some sort using the system WebKit framework, no problem. And I suppose it’s possible they’re working on an iPhone port of their Fennec mobile rendering engine — but I’d be flabbergasted if Apple were to approve that.

There are third-party web browser apps in the App Store, but there are no third-party HTML rendering engines or JavaScript interpreters.

Monday, 19 October 2009