Mozilla is moving in on Safari's turf.
Mozilla already has a sizable chunk of the desktop market and a presence on Android devices, however, it seems the folks at Mozilla are eager to expand Firefox's reach to include the iPad, as the company late last week revealed that it has been working on an iPad browser.
In a post published on its Air Mozilla blog, Mozilla announced that its Product Design Strategy team had been working on an iPad browser that rethinks user experience and aims to make browsing more fun as well as more ergonomic. The Product Design and Strategy team is a new unit at Mozilla, formed because the company felt Mozilla was lacking in product design. This team has been working on a few projects over the last few months, including Presence, the ability to talk to people and share links with friends directly. However, the big news is Mozilla Junior, an iPad browser.
"We wanted to make something entirely new. 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," said Alex Limi, of Mozilla's Product Design team. "And everybody says they've done this, but nobody's done this."
The WebKit based browser (and it has to be, as you can't ship anything that isn't WebKit based on that platform) is described as a fun and engaging application that ditches the more traditional desktop feel that Safari for iPad employs and instead offers a more magazine-like experience. The 'back' and 'new tab' buttons are on the lower half of the screen on either side of the display. They're positioned so that if you hold the tablet with two hands these buttons will be right by each of your thumbs. Hitting the little plus sign for a new tab brings up a new window split three ways to offer you three choices: Up top is recently visited pages, the middle shows icons for your favorite sites, and down the bottom you've got the search bar and keyboard.
Mozilla isn't the only company to invest in a specifically-iPad browser (as Limi points out, Chrome for iOS is shipping soon). However, the company hasn't said when we can expect Junior to ship, so don't expect to be able to replace Safari with Junior any time soon. We'll keep you posted.