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Apr 11, 2008

NEWS: Why Firefox Is Shrinking: Mobile Browser Market To Explode

Why Firefox Is Shrinking: Mobile Browser Market To Explode

Firefox parent Mozilla is hard at work shrinking its Web browser software to work on mobile phones. So far, it's available in a very early edition for some Nokia (NOK) gadgets, with the first "alpha" release scheduled for August, DailyTech reports.

Why bother? Because the high end of the mobile browser market, where Mozilla will operate, is poised to explode in the next six years, according to a report published today by ABI Research.

ABI sees "open-Internet" browsers, like Firefox and Opera, soaring to 700 million units delivered worldwide in 2013, 820% more than the 76 million delivered last year. (These "open-Internet" browsers support more sophisticated Web technologies like AJAX, CSS, etc., unlike the crappy browsers available on most mobile phones.)...

What's driving growth? Cool smartphones like Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, which have demonstrated to consumers that they can get a decent Web experience on a small screen if they have a powerful Web browser. The proof: Almost 85% of iPhone owners browse the Web on their phones, versus 13.1% of the overall U.S. mobile market, according to research firm M:Metrics....

from Silicon Alley Insider by 

"Virtual" mobile carriers, which buy wholesale airtime in bulk and re-sell it under their own brands, have been dropping like flies. (And many of the ones that still existaren't doing so well.) But a recently published patent filing shows that at least Apple (AAPL) is looking for new ways to make the idea work.

Instead of buying airtime in bulk from one carrier, which most "virtual" carriers do, Apple's model would let a phone connect to multiple networks, according to a summary posted by AppleInsider.

Those carriers could compete, auction-style, on the wholesale pricing they'd offer to Apple. Your phone would stay in touch with a central server somewhere, which would tell it which mobile network to connect to. Subscribers could also be able to pick which carrier they'd use, based on location and pricing...

Ed: An exchange for un-used wireless minutes similar to unused VoIP broadband.

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