MobileCrunch picked up the news that Firefox Home – what they call the “almost-a-browser” - is now awaiting App Store approval. That’s great, you’re thinking, but what the heck is an “almost-a-browser”? Here’s Simon Chester with an explanation:
Well, rather than just being a Safari replacement, Firefox Home acts as a bridge between your desktop version of Firefox and your iPhone. This is crucial, as apps that duplicate functionality of native iOS apps without adding anything new are a no-no in the App Store approval process.
It uses the Firefox Sync extension to sync your (desktop) Firefox bookmarks and history with your iPhone, and – more interestingly – will allow you to slide tabs open in Firefox over to your iPhone, much like Google’s Chrome-to-Phone functionality in Android 2.2.
You can search for and view any of the pages in your desktop bookmarks or history, as well as view the tabs open on your desktop copy of Firefox, right on your iPhone. Once you’ve found the page you’re after, you can view it either in Safari (an Apple-friendly move), or from within Firefox Home (which may upset Apple). You can also send the links via email.
Make sense? If not, and you’re one of those “visual” learners, here’s a video demonstration:
Just when you thought the mobile testing matrix couldn’t any more complicated, along comes Mozilla to pile it on. Aside from mobile OS, carriers, device manufactures (just the iPhone and the iPod Touch for now) and a host of other mobile testing criteria, Mozilla also had to cross-test this app with their desktop version – certainly no easy task.
It will be interesting to read the consumer reviews – both the good and the bad – once the app is released to the little people. If you’re one of them, then you should bookmark the Mozilla blog to stay on top of the latest updates.