After Apple permitted the launch of the Opera Mini browser on the iPhone, the question was: would Firefox follow? For several technical reasons a number people argued it would not. However Firefox is apparently about to launch an application called “Firefox Home.”
Not quite a browser it syncs with Firefox online and provides access to tabs and bookmarks (based on Firefox Weave, now Sync) from the PC. It’s a clever workaround Apple’s technical restrictions.
According to a Mozilla blog post:
Firefox Home for iPhone is part of a broader Mozilla effort to provide a more personal Web experience with more user control. For devices or platforms where we’re unable to provide the “full” Firefox browser (either technically or due to policy), we aim to provide users with “on the go” instant access to their personal Firefox history, bookmarks and open tabs on their iPhones, giving them another reason to keep loving Firefox on their desktops.
Why is this useful?
- Left work in a hurry? You can pick up where you left off with access to the list of tabs you just had open on your desktop.
- Need those directions to that restaurant you were just reading about on your desktop? The confirmation code for your flight? Just start typing in the Awesome Bar and those pages will be right at your fingertips.
- Does it drive you crazy to have to enter the full URL on your iPhone that you’ve visited several times from your desktop? You won’t need to anymore with this app.
This PC–>mobile sync feature is highly valuable and a competitive advantage for Firefox, which is now battling Google’s Chrome browser for mindshare among the early adopter crowd. Mobile Firefox is important, though perhaps not absolutely critical, to the ongoing health and success of Firefox overall. The Android Platform should permit the launch of a full Firefox browser. Frankly I’m surprised it’s not out yet.
Here’s a video that shows a bare bones demo: