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Firefox Mobile Threatens Mobile App Stores, Says Mozilla

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the race-to-the-bottom-price dept.

Mozilla 278

Barence writes "Mozilla claims that its new Firefox Mobile browser could be the beginning of the end for the hugely popular app stores created by Apple and its ilk. Mozilla claims Firefox Mobile will have the fastest Javascript engine of any mobile browser, and that will allow developers to write apps once for the web, instead of multiple versions for the different mobile platforms. 'As developers get more frustrated with quality assurance, the amount of handsets they have to buy, whether their security updates will get past the iPhone approval process ... I think they'll move to the web,' Mozilla's mobile VP, Jay Sullivan, told PC Pro. 'In the interim period, apps will be very successful. Over time, the web will win because it always does.'"

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web-app-web (3, Insightful)

ghetto2ivy (1228580) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480988)

Not without better connectivity.

Re:web-app-web (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481004)

Or perhaps the local storage features present in html5.

Re:web-app-web (4, Funny)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481154)

My above post is flamebait in much the same way that marshmallows are meat.

Re:web-app-web (2, Insightful)

some_guy_88 (1306769) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481214)

Yeah, people suck.

Re:web-app-web (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481478)

And I thought I was the only one that liked meaty marshmallows.

Re:web-app-web (4, Informative)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481540)

Marshmallows are made with gelatin, which is made from meat. (Technically, it's the ground cartilage of food-grade animals)

Vegetarians and vegans won't eat marshmallows because they are basically meat and sugar.

Re:web-app-web (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481628)

Like a gluey version of a Big Mac then.

Re:web-app-web (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482074)

Right, a little bit of flamebait to hold it together, but mostly sugary goodness.

Ahem (2, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480994)

Yeah, worked for java didn't it? Not sure Apple's any likelier to just roll over any more than Microsoft or Adobe did.

Re:Ahem (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481050)

You see, the difference is, this time we're dealing with something that actually is write once, run anywhere. Who honestly wants to maintain two separate codebases? Sure, if Apple decides iPhones shouldn't have Internet connectivity or a built-in browser, they can beat what's coming. I'm not seeing that happening, somehow...

Re:Ahem (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481152)

But the only really successful app store is on the iphone, and apple won't allow firefox on that platform.

Re:Ahem (0, Offtopic)

timbck2 (233967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481172)

Step 1: Jailbreak your iPhone.
Step 2: Install Firefox Mobile.
Step 3: ???
Step 4: PROFIT ?!?

Re:Ahem (2, Insightful)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481270)

3. Reach merely a fraction of the iPhone market where people are geeky enough to bother...?

Re:Ahem (1)

timbck2 (233967) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481284)

Yep, that sounds about right...

Re:Ahem (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481354)

Dominance over a small fraction of a large enough market can be a very lucrative proposition...

Re:Ahem (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481450)

But would still not be enough to drive out the app stores.

Re:Ahem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481492)

Firefox itself isn't the moneymaker, the apps are, so it'd really be a fraction of a small fraction of the market -- and in most cases, it'd be a small fraction of a small fraction. Generally, that's not all that lucrative a proposition.

Re:Ahem (1)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481732)

Yeah, because it's not like Android has an enormous company like Google betting on its success oh wait it does.

Re:Ahem (5, Funny)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481332)

step 1.5: Change SSH password.

Re:Ahem (1)

el cisne (135112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481750)

Come on! That is comedy gold right there!

Re:Ahem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30482002)

One man's comedy gold is another man's stfu.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482036)

Damn, why'd my mod points all have to expire yesterday?

Re:Ahem (3, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481260)

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only android user that would disagree. I have a friend who's a die hard mac fan, who's getting a Droid. There are a lot of things the users don't like in the iPhone, Apple's App Store and AT&T.

Re:Ahem (1)

prozaker (1261190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481934)

how can you tell he is a die hard mac fan?

Re:Ahem (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481844)

Taken in isolation, that's true, but the fact of Firefox's speedy Javascript implementation means that Apple will have to follow suit with Safari. In other words, you don't need Firefox on an iPhone to take advantage of the apps that will become available as a result of this development.

Re:Ahem (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481912)

That's the point of this whole thing. With better apps that just run in the browser, you don't need the app store anymore. Other "app stores" pop up to sell you subscriptions to rich web applications that you access over your phone's net connection.

Re:Ahem (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481926)

I should clarify my last reply; while Firefox Mobile is moving forward with better performance on mobile devices, Apple can't just let Safari sit forever. Sooner or later, they'll have to bring its performance up to par too.

Re:Ahem (1)

darjen (879890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481630)

If I recall correctly, javascript/ajax did actually catch on way more than applets.

Javascript (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#30480996)

Javascript: Off

Mozilla needs new top management. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481962)

Firefox is the most unstable program in common use.

So maybe: Firefox: Off.

Or Apple just blocks firefox from the iphone... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481008)

Or, Apple DELETES firefox from your iphone without your consent.

Re:Or Apple just blocks firefox from the iphone... (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481572)

Or they change the API:

if( fireFox ) {
    delay( 5 seconds );
    throttleBandwidth( 50_PERCENT );
    originalCall();
}

Nope. (4, Insightful)

7Ghent (115876) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481020)

Not until mobile OSes allow for direct hardware access from the browser. Palm's Web OS does, but I can't imagine Apple allowing Fennec to access the accelerometer or camera, say. Particularly if it begins to cannibalize their App Store profits.

Re:Nope. (0)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481112)

How many apps do you have?

How many apps do you have that do direct hardware access?

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481360)

Well mine are all on the droid - but it seems to be most of them. Google Places uses the GPS, Google Goggles uses he camera, Google Sky Map uses the compass and accelerometer. I guess the Weather Channel and Flixster don't use the hardware. I don't actually know for sure that Google Voice does, but in order to do dialing it must be more that javascript. So out of 6 apps I have installed 4 of them use the hardware.

APIs missing from common JS implementations (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481400)

How many apps do you have that do direct hardware access?

I understood 7Ghent's intent not as actual direct hardware access (in the kernel-mode sense) but as any feature of a computing device that JavaScript and the HTML and CSS DOM don't necessarily expose. I have lots of apps that use APIs for 3D graphics, reading the joystick or accelerometer, reading the camera or microphone, playing audio objects with variable pitch and volume, importing and exporting files chosen by the user, and connecting to multiple web servers (which XMLHttpRequest doesn't allow due to Same Origin Policy).

Re:APIs missing from common JS implementations (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482110)

Firefox and Fennec already expose accelerometer data to the DOM (via events). There's ongoing work to define APIs for microphone and camera access. File import is done (see File objects in Firefox and the web apps specs); file export is being thought about (some security concerns here). XMLHttpRequest can connect web servers that want to be connected (and define appropriate policies) right now.

So no, the web won't displace existing phone apps tomorrow. In 18 months, who knows.

Re:Nope. (1)

SpeedBump0619 (324581) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481452)

I have 30 apps (not including the pre-installed ones and direct Safari links) on my iPhone, all free (I'm a cheapskate, sue me). Of those 5 directly use the camera, 12 have some location awareness, 4 do direct audio capture and processing, and three use the compass. Maybe these will become web-enabled hardware APIs, but I don't think any of them are today. So, more than half of my applications would have fewer features if implemented as web applications. At least 10 of them wouldn't be on my phone without their specific hardware features.

Re:Nope. (1)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481580)

Firefox already has location awareness, the next version of Fennec is expected to have a camera API, and I believe the phone that Mobile Firefox is debuting on provides an API for the microphone that Firefox can use.

Re:Nope. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481264)

You can already write webpages that can access Apple hardware (at least the GPS) from javascript.

Re:Nope. (1)

BZ (40346) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482082)

Fennec on the n900 has access to the accelerometer and camera.

Fennec can't run on the iPhone at all (since it includes a JS engine), so the Apple case is pretty irrelevant to it...

Boy this will be an interesting discussion (0)

vivek7006 (585218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481022)

iphone fans vs firefox fans ........

Re:Boy this will be an interesting discussion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481040)

Correction - iphone does not have fans. It has only fanbois.

Re:Boy this will be an interesting discussion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481086)

Even better: watch the Firefox fans who spent 18 months whining about how Apple should allow "real apps" instead of just web apps now make a sharp about-face.

Re:Boy this will be an interesting discussion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481232)

It's at times like this I ask myself - Who would Don King back.

Re:Boy this will be an interesting discussion (1)

Grem135 (1440305) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481454)

"It's at times like this I ask myself - Who would Don King back." LMFAO !!!

How I do get Firefox on my iPhone? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481026)

Does that run in Safari?

Hardware connectivity? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481028)

Uhm, isn't the issue that your browser can't access your hardware? Guess sooner or later it will become 3D accelerated and maybe one can have the GPS submit coordinates to the page running the javascript or something. But shouldn't it still be somewhat limited?

How good does the iPhone work?

Don't "native non-webrelated apps" have any benefit longer?

Re:Hardware connectivity? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481302)

To each product its own needs.

Web browsers do make a pretty convenient cross-platform frontend, giving you effortless ability to run parts of the application remotely. The downside is making the same program work the same in each different web browser can be a pain (esp. I.e.... shudder).

Anyone know if the latest versions of IE have fixed their appallingly bad string manipulation performance, which was (is?) orders of magnitude worse than all of their competitors?

Re:Hardware connectivity? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481464)

I doubt people will push their webapps for mobile phones against IE though, rather webkit and maybe firefox.

Another thing I wonder is if this will involve visiting webpages / have a collection of "apps" in your browser or how it's supposed to work. Because I doubt people want to surf to various webpages if they see the browser and such. I guess also one maybe want to have a consistent look of the user interface across applications.

Seems Unlikely (4, Interesting)

saisuman (1041662) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481052)

I saw my wife playing Assassin's Creed on the iPhone today. I can't imagine a game of that quality being remade in Javascript unless it comes with some funky O3D-like capabilities.

Um...how do you figure? (5, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481054)

First of all, you can be 100% certain that unless Mozilla's made some kind of specific arrangement with Apple, this will not be allowed on the App Store. It's plainly and obviously against the SDK terms.

Second...how many times have people complained that web apps are totally inadequate substitutes for native apps, for many types of application? I mean, sure, you can make an RSS reader, or a Twitter client, but what about (for instance) Myst? That's now an iPhone app, weighing in at over 500MB, if I recall correctly. Do you really think that's going to be a viable app to distribute as a web app?

Third, unless you're going to have some sort of subscription thingy worked out, how are you going to make money on web apps without intrusive ads? Again, consider Myst. No one is going to accept ads suddenly popping up when they try to link from Myst Island to Channelwood. And I doubt that people will want to pay a monthly fee to access a single-player game, either.

Fourth, if you're writing a plain web app, however fancily mobile-enhanced, how are you going to make use of the cool features of different phones? The iPhone has a camera, accelerometers, GPS, and multitouch. I admit I'm not terribly well-versed in the features of other smartphones, but a) do they all have these? b) can you access them from web apps? and c) can you access them all in the same way from web apps?

I'm betting the answers to these are all, to greater or lesser extent, "no."

Mozilla can dream about "killing the App Store." But if it ever happens, it's not going to be Firefox Mobile that does it.

Dan Aris

Re:Um...how do you figure? (1)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481266)

Spot on. I'd also add that since telcos are already complaining about the data-load that the iPhone (and others) are adding to their networks, the cost of the kind of volumes that would be needed make the "web" a decent mobile app platform is (for the moment) prohibitive.

But let's say that bandwidth goes up and cost comes down, your final point "can you access them all in the same way from web apps?" is the final nail in the coffin. As a result of the differences, developers will make (again) the same decision that they've often faced in the past i.e. develop for the platform with the biggest market share, OR can I make enough money of the others to justify the extra cost in custom code for their platforms?

Re:Um...how do you figure? (2, Interesting)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481466)

1: You're missing the point. The point is that developers will move to browser independent webapps rather than writing an iPhone+blackberry app+htc touch app, etc.
2: Web browsers are not appropriate for everything, but they're becoming increasingly faster, and increasingly more appropriate for more intense tasks.
3: There's already lots of subscription websites - Mozilla need not do anything to support this - people can do this on their own.
4: The browser already has access to everything you listed: camera, accelerometers, GPS, and multitouch. And yes, the hardware is abstracted away by the platform and made available through a standard API.

Re:Um...how do you figure? (3, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481796)

You're missing the point. The point is that developers will move to browser independent webapps rather than writing an iPhone+blackberry app+htc touch app, etc.

You're missing the point. If that were going to happen, Palm would have had a smash success on their hands. As is, they've had just enough success to keep the wolves at bay. Developers AND users don't want browser apps. And from what I've read, Apple will remove the app at the first sign of success. Simply put, article's rant is nothing but a wet dream. It simply isn't going to happen - at least not any time soon.

Web browsers are not appropriate for everything, but they're becoming increasingly faster, and increasingly more appropriate for more intense tasks.

Right - and that's only just barely started to happen on the desktop where enough power exists to allow for JIT of JS. Mobile devices are no where near powerful enough at this point to allow for those types of optimizations. Maybe sometime over the next decade... Until then, its not practical, and that's just from a CPU perspective. Broadband radios drain the holy crap out of the battery. Forcing basic functionality to the browser is simply going to make users even more unhappy in addition to the crappy interfaces.

You're point four is certainly a good one but that also means additional layers on layers. That's not going to fly and simply make it unusable for vast too many applications, given the limited nature mobile platforms.

Simply put, a wet dream is a wet dream, no matter now much you want to rationalize its real. In the end, your friends are still going to roll their eyes when you insist you nailed that super model last night. Even if everyone wanted to buy into your wet dream, the technology just isn't there yet.

Re:Um...how do you figure? (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481618)

Fourth, if you're writing a plain web app, however fancily mobile-enhanced, how are you going to make use of the cool features of different phones? The iPhone has a camera, accelerometers, GPS, and multitouch. I admit I'm not terribly well-versed in the features of other smartphones, but a) do they all have these? b) can you access them from web apps? and c) can you access them all in the same way from web apps?

PhoneGap? [phonegap.org]

Re:Um...how do you figure? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481668)

If Apple chooses to go that route, they're going to have to be extremely careful not to run afoul of the US' antitrust regulations dealing with this sort of vendor lockout. Especially if it harms the customers or damages competitors. Just because Apple was able to get away with this sort of crap under the previous DoJ doesn't make it a guarantee that there anti-competitive behaviors will be allowed into the future.

Re:Um...how do you figure? (1)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481846)

Myst on the iPhone! awesome!

That tempts me to buy an iPhone, just so I could play Myst on the train.

Re:Um...how do you figure? (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481902)

Myst? [...] an iPhone app, weighing in at over 500MB, if I recall correctly. Do you really think that's going to be a viable app to distribute as a web app?

Yes of course. And thanks for the flashbacks of people asking me to download the Internet onto a floppy.

Re:Um...how do you figure? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482132)

No one is going to accept ads suddenly popping up when they try to link from Myst Island to Channelwood.

Well, they could be subtle and work it into the game dialogue/gameplay...

"Bring me the BIG BLUE pages!"
"D'Ni" could become "Sun'i" and they could have everyone drinking Java there.
The "Linking Books" could be Nooks or Kindles.
The clock puzzle could have a brand on the face.

Deja Vu (5, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481076)

This sounds like Steve Jobs before he announced that the iPhone would be supporting native apps and not just web apps. It already had a pretty fast, capable browser, and there were hardly any apps for it. Within a week of shipping an SDK, there were hundreds.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481230)

My first thought too. Hey, web apps are just fine! You won't even be able to tell the difference!

Yeah right.

Besides, Mozilla doesn't have the fastest javascript renderer on the desktop, why would their first foray into the mobile world be better than everything else?

Misses the point pretty badly (2, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481096)

I'd say this comment misses the point of phone apps pretty terribly. At least the ones I use tend to rely almost entirely on the phone's hardware features. Not just accelerated graphics and GPS and camera, but tie-ins to the address book and calendar, etc.

Re:Misses the point pretty badly (1)

Jaxoreth (208176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481716)

I'd say this comment misses the point of phone apps pretty terribly. At least the ones I use tend to rely almost entirely on the phone's hardware features. Not just accelerated graphics and GPS and camera, but tie-ins to the address book and calendar, etc.

Not to mention offline operation and storage. Without a net connection you can't send email, but you can still compose an email.

It's been my hope that the proliferation of mobile apps would legitimize local apps in general. Many of the strikes against Web apps on a phone also apply to desktops (or at least laptops, in the case of battery life).

Apple will just block it on the iPhone (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481098)

Care to hack your phone over it?

This is exactly why proprietary systems that are built on anti-competitive practices and don't give you the ability to install applications without approval are a very bad idea in the long run, regardless of initial cool factor.

no web browsers on iphone (1)

street struttin' (1249972) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481160)

i thought web browsers weren't allowed on the iphone, or opera would have done it. So no firefox on iphone, either...

Is it just me? (0, Offtopic)

v(*_*)vvvv (233078) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481170)

... who thinks FF is lacking quality control recently? I have 3.5.2, but it crashes way too often and feels slower. Javascript also stutters. It pauses now and again, as if it were trying to catch up to something. It could be blazing fast between pauses, but if its freezing, it ain't blazing.

You can tout your own horn all you want, but show me the evidence.

Re:Is it just me? (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481436)

... who thinks FF is lacking quality control recently? I have 3.5.2, but it crashes way too often and feels slower. Javascript also stutters. It pauses now and again, as if it were trying to catch up to something. It could be blazing fast between pauses, but if its freezing, it ain't blazing.

You can tout your own horn all you want, but show me the evidence.

This isn't necessarily off-topic, just poorly referenced to the topic. The summary cites the original article's claims of "the fastest javascript engine," so clearly Firefox performance claims are being made here. And I, too, thought that existing versions of firefox (I'm running 3.5.5 64bit linux) don't provide strong support for Firefox Mobile to live up to this hype.

Re:Is it just me? (3, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481622)

Mozilla is suggesting that Firefox should essentially be the OS for smart phones. If that came to pass, all the apps on your phone could be, at best, as stable as Firefox. Which makes the stability of Firefox definitely on topic, in addition to the speed.

Always... (5, Insightful)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481194)

It's a little shortsighted to use "always" to describe the web's winning streak for two reasons:

1) The web has not always won. Despite Google's Office suite, Microsoft continues to dominate the office space and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. So at least in one market, thick clients have continued to win out over thin clients.

2) The web is just not that old. Claiming that the web will win because it has always won is a weak appeal to tradition made especially weak by the fact that the web is realistically 13-15 years old.

Re:Always... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481256)

Where has the web won?

The only place I can think of where a web app seems to have made significant progress where a regular app is available is in e-mail, and much of that can be attributed to most webmail accounts being free.

Re:Always... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481854)

I'd say it also won in dictionaries, enclopedias, maps, and it's winning in multimedia where bandwidth allows (I'm thinking of news sites, iTunes, and youtube -- Hulu hasn't really displaced conventional TV in any meaningful sense).

I think the web has so far lost, for the most part, in video games (yes there are lots of web games, but I don't think that's where the money is -- maybe I'm wrong), office/productivity, quality video content > ~5 minutes in length (I don't think bittorrent counts as "the web"), long-form written content such as novels, instant messenger (displacing the telephone in a lot of contexts, but ultimately most people use specialized client software for this).

Re:Always... (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481654)

1) The web has not always won.

Suppose, for example, the SSD or its successor became almost unbelievably small, capacious, efficient, and cheap.

Local storage is no longer a problem for your mobile device even if what you need are high resolution marine charts or topographical maps for the whole of North America.

Databases that are updated infrequently - but when you need to access them, you need to access them now.

I don't want web apps. (2, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481216)

I want local apps, with local data, that I can synch with anything (one of my PCs, on-line storage...).

I don't want to be dependent on a wireless net connection to access my apps nor my data. In my experience, even wifi is flaky. And I can't trust 3rd parties to have my apps and data available, secure, and safe.I'm a big ASS fan. I'd be interested in local javascript apps, with local data storage, maybe...

Plus the smallest-common-denominator issue: as long as different devices have different capabilities (color, accelerometer, multi-touch, video/3D acceleration...)

Re:I don't want web apps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481258)

I'm a big ASS fan

Talking about mud flaps, has your girl got them?

Javascript? (-1, Flamebait)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481224)

JavaScript is not a good substitute for an actual programming language.

ECMAScript is Lisp with C syntax (1, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481458)

ECMAScript has been described as Scheme with C syntax, or what Lisp might have been had the M-expressions [wikipedia.org] ever been implemented. Are your complaints about the language itself or about the DOM?

Re:ECMAScript is Lisp with C syntax (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481792)

Now i will state now I am no expert at JS.

It just does not seem like nice language, if all the needed functionality is their they seem to have done a good job of hiding it.
and as to Scheme, it looks horrible, and C is very outdated compared to new OO style languages, so that is not a shining endorsement to me.
and just in general, how much better have they made JS run, I would think it would be almost impossible to give it the efficiency of a full language, even running on my computer that is probably about 1000 times more powerful then a mobile device a JS app could never hope to run 3D animations, drawing a few solid rectangles on the screen seems to be all it can handle without lagging.
It is a scripting language, and does a decent job at that, but you would no more write Halo in Unix Shell script then you would use JS.

It's the flashy "store" people want (2, Interesting)

nmoog (701216) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481226)

"Over time, the web will win because it always does." Yeah, over time... "over time" linux will win too. It's true most of the apps from the app store could have been made identically as web apps. But then they wouldn't have been on the app store - and no one would have ever seen them. I'm continually shocked at the amount of money the non-nerds (bosses, project managers, those other people who I'm not sure what they do except go to corporate lunches) at my work spend on the app store. MONEY! that's crazy - I've never seen people voluntarily spend MONEY on apps before! But Apple made a great system for "the normals". They don't want to trawl the web for nifty web apps (like this JavaSript platform game [mrspeaker.net] I may or may not be shamelessly plugging). The just want a happy little environment where they can buy stuff while pretending to be typing important emails during meetings.

Beta is terrible (2, Interesting)

jspenguin1 (883588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481392)

The current beta is far worse than the native Maemo browser (itself based on Firefox): - No inertial scrolling. - One window per instance, no tabs. This is a deal killer. I don't necessarily need tabs, but opening a separate instance for each page I want to view simultaneously is unacceptable. - Extremely slow to start and load pages. - Package is not "optified" - it installs to the device root instead of /opt, taking 20MB out of 256 available in the root. - Currently there are only three add-ons not marked "experimental" and even in experimental there's no AdBlock Plus (at least, that I can find). Hopefully, these problems will be fixed, but for now, I'm staying with the native Maemo browser.

Re:Beta is terrible (1)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481680)

No inertial scrolling.

The nightly I'm using has it.

One window per instance, no tabs.

The betas have had tabs for a long time. They're in the left toolbar.

Package is not "optified" - it installs to the device root instead of /opt

Fixed 3 weeks ago [starkravingfinkle.org]

Currently there are only three add-ons not marked "experimental"

I myself have written five add-ons for Mobile that are out of the sandbox, so I don't know where you're getting your numbers.

even in experimental there's no AdBlock Plus

Support added 2 weeks ago [starkravingfinkle.org]

It sounds like you haven't tried Fennec since the early betas. Might be time to give it another shot.

Re:Beta is terrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481782)

Odd... I installed it 30 minutes ago from the official repository (firefox.com/m, download link). I clicked the "get add-ons" on the welcome screen and it only gave two options (URL fixer and some location add-on). Even the weave button on the welcome screen did not work.

Going to the actual add-on site showed 3 add-ons (the two above plus weave). I spent about 10 minutes looking for adblock (most of that waiting for it to become responsive after freezing) and gave up. I didn't see a button for a new tab, but it probably just wasn't intuitive.

I will try the latest nightly before I pass judgement again.

Re:Beta is terrible (1)

jspenguin1 (883588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481824)

Odd... I installed it 30 minutes ago from the official repository (firefox.com/m, download link). I clicked the "get add-ons" on the welcome screen and it only gave two options (URL fixer and some location add-on). Even the weave button on the welcome screen did not work.

Going to the actual add-on site showed 3 add-ons (the two above plus weave). I spent about 10 minutes looking for adblock (most of that waiting for it to become responsive after freezing) and gave up. I didn't see a button for a new tab, but it probably just wasn't intuitive.

I will try the latest nightly before I pass judgement again.

Gaah.. didn't mean to post anonymously...

Re:Beta is terrible (1)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481828)

I clicked the "get add-ons" on the welcome screen and it only gave two options (URL fixer and some location add-on).

Those are add-ons recommended by Mozilla. This page [mozilla.org] implies that there are 726 total add-ons for Mobile, with AdBlock Plus here [mozilla.org] .

Two things. (3, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481418)

Two things, my friend:

1. Java is THE dominant platform if you want to program anything that works on pretty much all mobile phones on the planet. Apart from the iPhone, and some Windows Mobile phones, I don’t think there is a phone that can’t do Java.
2. In the real world, not many people care about the App Store or the iPhone. It has only 3-4% percent of the global market share, and technologically already was surpassed when it came to the market in Japan, was a novelty for about a month in most of Europe, and only in the USA has gained more than 10% for obvious reasons. Which means, others are still hugely dominant. So much in fact, that I don’t even think it’s worth targeting the iPhone platform. (I’m sorry, but if you now think I’m trolling, that’s the reality distortion bubble, created by the hype. I’m in no way hating the iPhone or anything. It has great raw power and a good UI. I’m just stating the facts as I know them from actually being in the market, and keeping up to date, because I need that to make a living. Prejudice is just stupid, and am happy to be corrected. :)

So I really see no point in yet another layer of inner-platform failure [wikipedia.org] , to use JavaScript, when you already have fast Java with accelerated OpenGL, EAX-like audio support, and tons of functions. (Be aware that as much of it is accelerated, Java on mobile phones is vastly faster per raw CPU power, than on desktop VMs.)

If they can offer me all those hardware-accelerated APIs, an ability to check if the phone supports them, a fast JavaScript compiler, and 96% of all phones of the world having it pre-installed, I might consider writing for their platform. ;)

Give me a break, you just made that up. (3, Insightful)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482014)

Sorry but you are wrong. The iPhone has 17% of the mobile share globally, 50% of the global app usage, and an insane 65% of the mobile HTML request. Unlike you I did the research instead of making shit up. Want the source? Here [macrumors.com]

Amazingly Accurate (2, Interesting)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481438)

I expect slapchop articles to be stupid, wrong, and shitty. I expect to be able to bitch and moan about them. It's why I come here.

But this article has that distinctive truthiness to it that flies in the face of what the masses love.

99% of the applications on the various mass-market marketplaces (Apple's, Google's, and Microsoft's) are pointless crap that would be better served up via a standard web page.

Of course, the browsers on those phones are crap, and no one bothers to get Opera Mobile even though it blows the shit out of your phone's standard browser (especially if your phone supports the non java version).

The bottom line is that this is a good thing.
I see far too much time, money, and energy wasted on "apps" (both by developers and by users) when a competent mobile web page would be a much better choice for the consumer.

But of course, if you can mask your web page as an "app" and SELL it on a virtual store that advertises for you, well shit yes the developers are going to focus on "apps" and ignore their mobile sites.

I seriously hope Firefox runs well on all the major mobile platforms (Windows Mobile 6.5 and up, iPhone OS, Droid, and the other one that a I always forget the name of, no not Blackberry). I'd love to have a competent browser SUCCEED in the mobile space. We already have Opera, but as I stated before, no one uses it. People will use Firefox.

(If you want to complain about my use of "truthiness", I'll just tell you it's as cromulent a word as "distinctive".)

Fennec? Ahahhahaha (1)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481472)

This is joke of the year material. For those who don't know, the current versions of Fennec for the Nokia N900 basically crashes left and right on pretty much anything. Fennec isn't threating anything, anything soon.

Just like we never use desktop apps anymore... (1)

ForestHill (958172) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481508)

Yeah, that's why the vast majority of apps we all use on a daily basis on our computers are web apps. Or not. In fact, for me, there's not a single web app I use on a daily basis...

Re:Just like we never use desktop apps anymore... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481636)

Gmail is a pretty big web app...

Sticking my snout in here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481528)

Opera mobil.

I want Flash 10 support (1)

ksemlerK (610016) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481562)

integrated into Firefox Mobile. It would allow for streaming media from sites such as Youtube, Hulu, and Tube8.

PastryKit (3, Interesting)

fandingo (1541045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481686)

Ars Technica had an article about a hidden framework that Apple was developing before Apps hit with 2.0. http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2009/12/pastrykit-best-iphone-web-app-library-you-never-heard-about.ars [arstechnica.com]

Actually looks pretty cool and could allow more web-based apps.

I still think that local apps will be preferreable. The thing is that a lot of apps are only useful on the web, so the concerns about not being able to access them w/o a net connection are baseless. Not all apps, but there's lots of social networking apps and others that need networks.

One possible outcome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481836)

This is just speculation, but lets say that all of the OTHER smart phone companies want to see the Apple App Store lose some business. Since there is no real rival to the App store, these companies have nothing to lose by supporting webapp capabilities through Firefox Mobile. They would gain a buzzword and compatibility with a potentially unlimited amount of software. So what this means is that iPhone users still use the App store, and everyone else uses some open repository of free and non-free webapps or buys directly from the developer. Seems logical to me and only takes the assumption that not everyone on the planet uses an iPhone.

Yeah and (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481878)

if you own an iPhone you're just a faggot butt-pirate who likes getting reamed by the corporate scumbags at apple anyway.

PLEASE not Javascript (1, Troll)

dirkdodgers (1642627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30481898)

Hear my plea, oh Mozilla developers. What must I do to appease your wrath?

Please don't build another application platform on Javascript. Just make Java a first class citizen in the damn browser and be done with it.

Heck, any proper language with a proper standard library will do. I'm not partial to Java. All I care is that it isn't Javascript. Javascript should have died in 1996.

Javascript helps no one. It is a shitty language with shitty tools that has spawned so much shitty code that it threatens to fold the universe in on itself.

Any specific gripes? I think it's pretty great. (0, Troll)

weston (16146) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482038)

All I care is that it isn't Javascript. Javascript should have died in 1996. Javascript helps no one.

Helps me. Nice multi-paradigm functional-OO-imperative language mix wrapped up in familiar syntax. The various DOMs have kindof sucked, and there's a few gotchas (you have to know your scoping rules, that the number type is IEEE 754 double precision, why non K&R bracing style will bite you, plus some misc other things), but overall, I find a lot to recommend it.

Do you have specific gripes, or just general bad vibes?

uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30481976)

Hey, I've got an idea, write a browser that's so mutantly written it's not native anywhere and isn't even ALLOWED in the Android OR iPhone OS app stores and see where it gets us! Fantastic plan, Mozilla. I didn't switch to Chrome because it was awesome. I switched because Firefox has horrible gnome integration. The entire browser gui literally IS a web page of sorts.. You just can't take that web stuff too far, and you have. Me, I like fast. Circular saw duct-taped to a scud missile fast. I call it WebKit.

Good idea but won't happen (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#30482068)

Like Apple will allow them on the iPhone and I doubt it will get me to switch from Google Android browser. I enjoy using the Opera browser for Android sometimes but even that doesn't feel as intuitive. I doubt Firefox will be better.
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