Update 10:20 a.m. PDT: This was updated to clarify the point about mobile browser alternatives.
The buzz about Firefox these days might be focused on the impending Firefox 3, but the folks at Mozilla are already thinking beyond that browser--and beyond the PC. A blog post on Wednesday from Mozilla Labs' head of user experience, Aza Raskin, shows off a video of a conceptual Firefox Mobile.
Designed for touch-screen interfaces--not multitouch, like the iPhone--the mobile Firefox browser opens up to reveal a bookmarks list and a "plus" button to open a new window. The browser controls are located to the left of the window and are accessible by panning horizontally.
Firefox competes reasonably well with Microsoft's dominant Internet Explorer on PCs, but the battle lines are only now being drawn in the mobile device browser war. One notable power is the open-source Webkit browser engine, used in the iPhone's Safari browser and Google's forthcoming Android software.
"We're driven by demand," Mike Schroepfer, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, said in a May interview when asked if he was interested in bringing Firefox to Android. "We've been concentrating on other platforms that don't have (a) browser or didn't have a good one."
The mobile Firefox is code-named "Fennec" after a small species of fox with unusually large ears. Ironically, the animal sometimes referred to as a "firefox," better known as a red panda, is more closely related to skunks and raccoons.
CNET News.com's Stephen Shankland contributed to this report.