Firefox may have a substantial following on the desktop, but Mozilla as a whole is largely absent from the handheld/mobile space (projects like Minimo and the Mozilla based browser for Maemo being notable exceptions). However, a blog post by Mozilla VP of Engineering Mike Schroepfer suggests Mozilla now intends to go full steam ahead on the mobile front. According to Schroepfer, the organization is taking the following steps toward greater mobile presence:
* Mozilla will add mobile devices to the first class/tier-1 platform set for Mozilla2. This means we will make core platform decisions with mobile devices as first-class citizens.
* We will ship a version of “Mobile Firefox” which can, among other things, run Firefox extensions on mobile devices and allow others to build rich applications via XUL.
* Mozilla will expand its small team of full-time mobile contributors to focus on the technology and application needs of mobile devices. In particular two new folks just joined:
** Christian Sejersen, recently the head of browsers at Openwave which has shipped over 1 billion mobile browsers, joined Mozilla Monday. He’ll be heading up the platform engineering effort and setting up a R&D center in Copenhagen, Denmark.
** Brad Lassey just joined Mozilla from France Telecom R&D. He’s already been an active contributor to our mobile efforts and can now focus on Mozilla mobile full time.
Schroepfer doesn’t mention a precise release schedule for Mobile Firefox. However, he says the software will “certainly not [be out] before 2008.” (Thanks to Ars Technica for the tip.)