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Mozilla sees Firefox Mobile 'killing' app stores

updated 05:45 pm EST, Fri December 18, 2009

Firefox Mobile to popularize web apps?

Mozilla mobile VP Jay Sullivan in an interview Thursday made the aggressive claim that Firefox Mobile will put an end to app stores like the iPhone's App Store or BlackBerry App World. As the smartphone web browser will share much of the desktop Firefox's engine and render both complex HTML and JavaScript, the senior employee anticipates many developers opting to write web apps instead of producing native code.

Many of the existing stores have draconian or inconsistent guidelines, or aren't worth the cost of producing a separate version to reach a smaller user base, Sullivan argues to PCPro.

"As developers get more frustrated with quality assurance, the amount of handsets they have to buy, whether their security updates will get past the iPhone approval process... I think they'll move to the web," he explains.

Firefox Mobile is being developed for virtually every smartphone platform that embraces a comparatively unrestricted app environment, including Android, Nokia's Maemo, Symbian and Windows Mobile. It's currently only in beta stage for Maemo phones like the N900 (shown) but will be entirely unavailable on platforms like the iPhone, where Apple's submission rules ban most code interpreters and thus third-party web browsers.

Web apps may still face a difficult road ahead based on user reactions. As a consolation to iPhone developers, Apple in 2007 tried promoting web apps as an alternative to the then-absent support for third-party native software. Most still objected, and whether due to this or other factors Apple launched its App Store a year after the iPhone became available. Since then, having an app store has become essential and has led to tens of thousands of apps being available on most mobile operating systems.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Marook

    Forum Regular

    Joined: May 1999


    What a JOKE!

    So, he thinks JavaScript and HTML will beat Cocoa Touch? What a joke!

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2007


    "If you build it..."

    Some might use it, but:
    1. Web/data connectivity would obviously be required. Not such a bad thing for most times, but what about when Mobile/wireless network usage is not an option?

    I don't need any type of connection to use a local database, crop and rotate images, check the level of the shelf I might hang, play games...

    2. Web/data over/usage fees.

    Won't this increase the data usage?

  1. solefald

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2008



    i'll believe it when i see it.

  1. godrifle

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006


    Here it is...

    Apple sees the writing on the wall too:

    HTML 5 takes care of local data storage;
    CSS 3 + Javascript provides app experience.

    Safari on iPhone provides the support. Apple's investment in javascript frameworks and promotion of the same (see iTunes Extras/tunekit/

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Nov 2008


    I thought the tech pundits were

    totally down on Apple's iPhone when it first only supported web apps. Everyone was calling it crippled. And now this group is saying that app stores are going to be replaced by web apps. What do you do when you don't have a connection or is that just a given?

  1. Alfiejr

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2008


    Got Blinders On

    Sad to see Mr. Firefox so lacking in understanding. does not bode well for future of Firefox overall.

    Consumers don't care if an app is native or web. they don't have to even know. they just want the thing to work, quick and easy, with one click to start it and as few/short delays in getting info as possible. most interesting iPhone apps are part web app already, getting info from some server as well as using local resources or blutooth etc. the notion apps should be either purely local or purely cloud is an emotional hang up.

    the strength of iTunes app store is that is makes buying, updating, and organizing apps so easy. of course iTunes itself is a hybrid local/cloud application, but nobody ever even thinks about that while using it. which is a great achievement. it just works.

    as to developers, they go wherever the sales/audience are, period. cut out this silly childish "frustrated developer" meme. didn't stop even MS from creating a Bing app, did it? they had to, for the audience. like they said in the Godfather, "it's just business."

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    either or

    Either his words are being put extraordinarily out of context, or he is extraordinarily dumb.

  1. DanielSw

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2009


    Boasting and/or posturing

    Nothing more.

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005



    I like his enthusiasm and passion for his project, and I'm sure he is perfectly aware of the foolishness of his statement. To me, it looks like he is just a true believer in the power of Firefox, which is nice.

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005


    I don't trust the cloud

    Information and apps on my local computer or phone is always available to me. The second I lose connectivity to "the cloud", everything I have out there is in accessible. Why would I prefer that??? It doesn't make sense. Even an idiot like me can see that. What a moron.

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