Mozilla Halts Firefox on Windows Mobile

Ever since Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7 Series back in February, many Windows Mobile developers have been abandoning their efforts on the platform in order to focus on Microsoft’s next mobile effort—which won’t offer backward compatibility for current versions of Windows Mobile, even though that’ll be sticking around as Windows Phone Classic. (Confused yet?)

So, it comes as little surprise that Mozilla has announced it is stopping development of its version of Firefox for Windows Mobile; however, what’s slightly more surprising is that Mozilla doesn’t plan to jump to Windows Phone 7 Series either…at least not yet. “While we think Windows Phone 7 looks interesting and has the potential to do well in the market, Microsoft has unfortunately decided to close off development to native applications,” the company wrote in its blog. “Because of this, we won’t be able to provide Firefox for Windows Phone 7 at this time.”

So far, Microsoft has said applications for Windows Phone 7 Series will have to be written in XNA or Silverlight, rather than running as native code on Windows Phone 7 Series devices. The only exceptions so far seem to be for Microsoft’s own applications and possibly some tie-ins for carrier partners. Speculation also has Microsoft working with Adobe to offer a native version of Flash for Windows Phone 7 Series devices.

Firefox for Windows Mobile—codenamed Fennec—had only been available in alpha releases for early adopters. Mozilla had hoped to get a 1.0 version out the door later this year. The team apparently plans to continue working on Fennec for Nokia’s Maemo platform, where it’s already on its second beta release. Mozilla had been working on a version of Firefox for Windows CE for years.

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