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Mozilla: No Firefox Browser for iPhone... Really

Tuesday Mozilla confirmed that Firefox will not arrive on Apple's iPhone. Instead, users must fall back on Firefox Home, a free cloud-based application (browser companion) for accessing Firefox desktop history, bookmarks and tabs. Mozilla added that iPhone owners won't even receive anything resembling a full-blown browser within the Firefox Home app.

Why? Mozilla blames certain restrictions that prevented the team from bringing the full browser to Apple's device.

"People have asked about adding more browser-like features to Firefox Home, but there are technical and logistical restrictions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to build the full Firefox browser for the iPhone," Mozilla said in a blog. "We are focused on building Firefox Home as a rich, cloud-based application and making it a valuable product that people will continue to love and use."

Mozilla also said that it's working to bring Firefox Home to Blackberry and Symbian, indicating that the company may be shifting away from mobile browser development altogether. There's also an indication that Mozilla may bring Firefox Home to Apple's iPad, however the team said that the option will require further investigation.

Firefox for Mobile--aka Fennec--is currently available for the Nokia Maemo, Nokia N900, and the Nokia N810 and N800 internet tablets. An alpha version is available for Android handsets, however the version for Windows Mobile was put on hold after the announcement of Windows Phone 7.

Last year Mozilla ruled out development for the iPhone, blaming Apple policies. "The issue is more with Apple than with us because they control the App Store and because they refuse applications which compete with something that is already on the phone," said Mozilla's European president, Tristan Nitot. "It’s unlikely that we’ll see a version of Firefox running on the iPhone."

Those who are interested in tabbed-browsing for iPhone/iPod and iPad can download Atomic Browser from the App Store.