Google Android applications are currently written in Java and run off Google’s Dalvik Java virtual machine, however, that will soon change. Last week Google announced the Android Native Development Kit (v. 1.0) that will allow software to run natively on the Linux layer below. Without getting into the nitty gritty details of software development, what this all means is that Mozilla is likely to bring the mobile version of Firefox, called Fennec, to the Android platform.
A year ago, Mozilla decided not to focus on Android because of the Java constraints and because it already had a browser of its own. They wanted to first focus on platforms that either didn’t already have a browser, or didn’t have a good one. However, Mozilla did note that they were anticipating the day that Google would open up the platform.
Jay Sullivan, Mozilla’s vice president of mobile, said recently:
“Developers are taking a look at the NDK to see if it provides the capabilities we need to bring Fennec to Android. If it’s possible, I think our community would be interested in doing it, because Android will be appearing on more smartphones with the capabilities to provide a good browsing experience.”
In addition to expressing interest in an Android version of the Firefox/Fennec browser, Mozilla also has interest in a variety of sub-PC devices, including Netbooks.
In other Mozilla news, a new version of the desktop Firefox is about ready to be released. On Friday the company said that Tuesday looked like it would be the ship date for version 3.5. Then again, it could still be a couple days. You’ll know when it happens though – your browser will alert you that a new version is available to install.