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To surf the Internet on personal computers, the users of your website can use whichever browser they want, be it Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome. On today’s (and tomorrow’s) mobile device – ranging from iPhones to Windows RT tablet – while we have great connectivity, underneath it all, there is a ‘gotcha’ regarding limitations of our freedom: The browser acts as the operating system. It is true that many of the mobile devices will run a variety of browsers; BUT, third-party browsers do not necessarily have same privileges and power of the device’s built-in browser.

This constraint may mean that we only get to really change full-blown browsers when our smartphone’s contract expires or when we shell out a few hundred dollars for a new tablet. There is one firm that is working hard to preserve browser choice: Mozilla, creator of the Firefox browser.

Without the flexibility to select a browser for our mobile device, Mozilla is at a disadvantage when it comes to expanding its business to mobile computing. “Today’s Web is the product of strong browser competition on performance, stability, and feature set,” said Johnathan Nightingale, senior director of Firefox engineering. “The more we live on the Web, the more essential it is that people have the ability to choose the browser that puts them in control, and answers their needs.”

Why is this happening? According to CNet, one reason is because browsers are, in effect, becoming operating systems. “They run applications, they manage memory, they juggle among jobs with multitasking architecture, they store data, and increasingly, they interact with lower-level hardware such as graphics chips and accelerometers. Web applications generally run with restricted privileges within that browser, but they still can consume a lot of processing power and potentially open up new avenues for malware attacks.”

Most smartphone users simply use the browser that came with their device. It’s time for us to keep our power: When it’s time for upgrade our mobile device, be it a smartphone, tablet, or even Apple TV, Google TV, and Xbox products, let us consider getting one with the flexibility to change your browser. Doing so will benefit all of us as we spend more time surfing the web.

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