The nicest thing I can say about Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile is that it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. But, that doesn’t mean it is not painful to use and darn near useless. This deadly combination has led to relatively active alternative browser development for Windows Mobile over the years. The best known are probably Skyfire and Opera’s Mobile and Mini browsers. There’s been a fair amount of interst in the possibility of a Mozilla/Firefox browser for Windows Mobile over the years. However, its glacial development has never provided much hope for Windows Mobile users. And, this blog post announcement by Mozilla-ite Stuart Parmenter should reduce what little hope there was to zero:
Here’s the stated reason:
While we think Windows Phone 7 looks interesting and has the potential to do well in the market, Microsoft has unfortunately decided to close off development to native applications. Because of this, we wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be able to provide Firefox for Windows Phone 7 at this time. Given that Microsoft is staking their future in mobile on Windows Mobile 7 (not 6.5) and because we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know if or when Microsoft will release a native development kit, we are putting our Windows Mobile development on hold.
Microsoft has promised a better browsing story by build a new IE for mobile using Internet Explorer 6 (that’s right “6”, not 8 or the upcoming IE9). Whether or not is does remains to be seen. I’m not planning to buy a Windows Phone 7 device this year (so far). But, when I do, I’ll give its browser a good test drive.