Fennec, the mobile version of the Firefox browser from Mozilla, has reached a milestone release with a version for the HTC Touch Pro, though initial reports seem to indicate it lacks key functionality.
The milestone release is intended for Windows Mobile devices with VGA screens, though the Fennec blog mentions the HTC Touch Pro specifically. Readers of WMExperts are apparently unable to get the browser to load so much as a static HTML page, belying claims that the browser is largely functional.
The release does lack an update mechanism, and plug-ins aren't supported as yet, along with soft keyboards - so Touch users need to pull out their sliding keyboard to enter a URL. Lacking a handy HTC Touch we've not been able to verify the functionality, but the team promises the UI is working properly and most pages should be rendering accurately.
While the desktop browsing market is pretty much sewn up, with Firefox chewing away at the IE/Safari duopoly, on mobiles things are a lot more fluid. Opera already offers a remarkable browsing experience for free, while the Iris browser offers Windows Mobile users an alternative and Microsoft seems to have given up on mobile browsing completely, for the moment at least.
Safari underlies the browsing experience on top-end Nokias, but the iPhone offers an unparalleled browsing experience - as long as you've got two hands free.
With such an open playing field Fennec has a real chance of finding itself as the default browser, embedded in devices at manufacture, something of which its bigger brother can only dream. ®