OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Mozilla has released a Firefox Beta for Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system (OS).
The firm announced the touch-friendly edition of Firefox in a blog post today that revealed this initial beta version, the product of almost two years of development.
The Firefox Beta boasts a new start page with one-touch access to bookmarks, most used websites and history. The Awesome Bar is also included, which searches out pages based on history and a bit of intelligent guesswork. Large tiles echo the finger-friendly Windows 8 interface and make it the web browser a bit easier to navigate.
Support is included for Metro features to snap pages into a narrow column, fill the available screen or full screen, formatting the webpage to accommodate the available space.
Also new is a sharing facility, allowing one-click sharing to any social network that has been authorised by the user in Firefox. Under the bonnet there is also support for VP9 video playback and gamepads.
Although there have been plans afoot for a Firefox Metro app for nearly two years, it has been repeatedly delayed. There clearly are a number of issues still to be ironed out before it will be released for production use, however, as beta testers are advised to use it as their default web browser if installed, while there are other reports that watching Flash video in full-screen can sometimes lead to crashing.
Nightly builds have been available for some time but the delays appear to have been based on a lack of available Mozilla manpower for development, which has seen promised deadlines slip further away.
At present there is no date for a stable build, but this beta is a milestone for the project. µ
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