Mozilla will release an alpha-build of their new Firefox Mobile browser by the end of next week, initially only for the Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. The software, codenamed Fennec, is intended for preliminary code checking with a touchscreen-centric device, according to Jay Sullivan, Mozilla vice president of mobile, and precedes a Windows Mobile version that will drop “in a few months”. As well as the multifunction search & address ‘awesome bar’, Firefox for Mobile will support swipe-gestures for calling up control and contextual menus, and use the same Gecko rendering engine as the desktop version of Firefox.
The eventual Firefox Mobile beta release – which will be more stable for general users, compared to the alpha – is expected sometime in 2009. Sullivan estimates two or three further alpha versions before that happens.