Mozilla has released an alpha version of its mobile browser for Nokia's N810 and N800 internet tablets.
While he wouldn't reveal names, Sullivan said that Mozilla is talking to handset makers and operators about preloading Fennec onto phones. Traditionally, only a very small percentage of phone users load applications onto their phones so preloading the browser could significantly help distribution.
This isn't the first time that Mozilla has begun work on a mobile browser and most of its previous attempts have fizzled. For several years it worked on a mobile browser it called Minimo that included a release for Windows Mobile devices. But last year Mozilla said it wouldn't continue work on that browser, instead focusing on Fennec, which is based on the latest Mozilla platform that also supports Firefox.
Mozilla also developed and later retired a project called Joey that let people save portions of websites while on their PC and call up those images from their mobile phones.
While Mozilla has been working on those projects, Apple released its iPhone and included a mobile version of its Safari browser. That browser has been widely praised as a significant improvement over historical mobile browsers because it displays web pages just as they look on a computer but allows users to easily scroll around and examine the page. In two weeks, the G1 - first phone running Google's Android software will hit the UK market and it includes a browser developed by Google and based on webkit, the same technology that fuels Safari. That browser offers a similar improved experience but one-ups Apple's Safari because it can display Flash websites.