Monday, March 11, 2013

Mozilla: No Firefox for iOS

With Chrome and Dolphin on iOS, many wonder why Firefox has no presence in the iOS realm. Well, the answer is quite clear, even though it wasn't directly announced until a few days ago.

Apple, who owns iOS, has a tight policy on third party browsers on the platform. Browsers during this age can be available on iOS, as long as they use the same rendering engine, WebKit, as Safari. Third party browsers also can't use Safari's JavaScript engine, but that is not as important in Mozilla's case.

Since Firefox uses the Gecko rendering engine and their own JavaScript engine, it can't work with iOS, unless Apple loosens its grip a little. Firefox could make a WebKit version for iOS, and they did behind the scenes, more of a test.

Even if Mozilla did the work to make Firefox use Webkit, it would probably be pointless anyways because Chrome, Safari, and Dolphin are all competing in the browser space, and they all required less effort to build the browser.