Firefox Home Brings Desktop Tabs, History to iPhone

By July 16, 2010

Firefox Home was extended to iPhone and iPod Touch by Mozilla yesterday. The service, formerly just for full-sized computers, enables users of the Firefox browser to synchronize their browser data across multiple computers and st

ore it remotely in case a backup is needed. This is done with the browser extension Firefox Sync, a Mozilla project formerly known as Weave.

The new app, free from the iTunes store, provides access on the iPhone to browser history, bookmarks and open tabs. The data is securely synced to the cloud and can be accessed in the smartphone's Safari browser, and is password and "secret phrase" protected. If the user does not already have a Firefox Sync account, the app sends an email on how to set up the service.

The interface is sparse, with a menu to navigate to tabs, bookmarks and a search bar for same and history. The search bar is commonly referred to as an "Awesome Bar," just as in Firefox or Chrome it attempts to predict as the user types. The links open in a limited-functionality browser which can transfer navigation to Safari when it encounters video or other media that it cannot render.

Some may wonder about the absence of a fully functioning Firefox browser, especially with the mobile version Fennec only released to Android so far. But as ReadWriteWeb muses, what many users appreciate about Firefox, the extensions, are simply out of the league of iPhone specifications. Additionally, TechCrunch thinks that Apple would only block a full browser app.

Firefox Home's strength lies in its simplicity, as is often the case with mobile innovation. In this case, developers have gone with less is more, and Home does what it is meant to do well. Users can access their work quickly and easily, and efficiently move from desktop navigation to commuter workflow.

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