After two years as the sole Internet browser for the iPad, Apple’s Safari is about to face competition from two different directions. Not only have Mozilla unveiled their planned iPad browser – currently nicknamed “Junior” – but rumors are pointing to Google releasing an iOS version of Chrome within the next few months, as well.
Mozilla debuted Firefox Junior via a YouTube video presentation this weekend, in which Alex Limi and Trond Werner Lansen, both from the company’s Product Design and Strategy Team, demonstrated the prototype and discussed the reasoning behind its creation. “We wanted to make something entirely new,” explained Limi. “We wanted to look into how we could reinvent the browser for a new form factor, and also kind of throw out everything we know about browsers so far. And everybody says they do this, but nobody’s done this yet.”
Junior does, indeed, replace the traditional browser aesthetic with something that takes more advantage of the touchscreen technology of mobile devices (Bookmarks and recent sites are show up as tabs once you decide that you want to leave a webpage; scrollbars are replaced with buttons on either side of the screen, for example), as well as redefine the main uses of web-browsing; Werner Lansen talks in the video about the “three vital things” any browser should do, which he defines as provide access to recently-visited sites, provide access to bookmarked or favorite sites, and access a new site via an address bar that’ll allow you to type in any URL you wish.
The video avoids giving a release date for Junior, with a spokesperson for the company telling Talking Points Memo that the browser is “an early-stage experimental project and is not confirmed for development by Mozilla or for a future version of Firefox,” adding that the reason for the release of the video was that “all projects and experiments at Mozilla are developed in the open to gather ideas and feedback.” Limi seems a lot more confident about the project’s possible release in the video, and even gives a reason why. “We have no vehicle on one of the biggest consumer platforms in the world right now,” he explains at one point, later talking about the need to get Junior up and running as quickly as possible by saying that “Chrome’s going to ship Chrome for iOS soon.”
That last statement isn’t something that Google is willing to respond to just yet.
“We would like to bring the same speedy, simple and seamless Chrome web browsing experience to other mobile platforms, but have nothing to announce at this time,” a Google spokesperson responded when asked for comment about the Mozilla speculation. Google already has a mobile version of the Chrome browser for Android devices, and if the no comment statement sounds familiar, it’s because that’s pretty much what Google said about the Android Chrome just before it was announced. Your days of unchallenged supremacy may be numbered, Safari…
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