Mozilla's mobile gap: How bad is it?

Summary:Even with a native Android browser on deck, there's a good argument to be made that Mozilla is already too late.

Mozilla's beta of its Android browser is on the runway with an undetermined amount of taxiing before take-off, but it may be time to worry about the organization's relevance amid the sea of tablets and smartphones.

That's the gist of a report from CNET's Stephen Shankland. His main argument is that the clock is ticking on Mozilla and every minute of delay---potentially six weeks---matters.

I agree that every minute counts, but there's a good argument to be made that Mozilla is already too late. Among the key challenges ahead for Mozilla on the mobile front:

  1. An Android-native Firefox requires a download. You have to find it. Android's browser is good enough that most folks won't bother with Firefox. I wanted to sync my desktop and mobile histories and browsers so went for it. After a while though, my usage fell.
  2. Mozilla has to bet on Android. Android's market share is gaudy, but it's unclear whether it'll stay that way. Apple has been doing well and if you assume Microsoft Windows Phone can thrive there's only one place for Android market share to go---down.
  3. It's unclear whether Mozilla can change the mobile game. Browser performance matters, but I can't help but notice that Google's Chrome and Microsoft's IE has pushed Mozilla not the other way around. What evidence is there that Mozilla can pull a mobile leapfrog?

Those challenges aside, I'm hoping Mozilla's Android Firefox delivers, but color me skeptical at this point.

Topics: Browser, Mobility

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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