Mozilla won't be releasing new versions of Firefox
as early as
initially planned. The next version of Firefox (version 3.6) was planned to be
released sometime this year. Now, this version won't be released until at least
the first quarter of 2010. This pushes back other releases as well, including
the major 4.0 release; Firefox 4.0 is now scheduled for the end of 2010 or the
first quarter of 2011.
is figuring the extra time spent to deliver the newest version of its browser
will be worth the risk of losing market share. The delays could be good news
for Microsoft, giving the software giant a chance to take back a share of the
increasingly crowded browser market. Recent numbers show that Firefox 3.5 has a
greater percentage of users than Internet Explorer 7
or 8. Due to market adoption of Windows 7, however, the trends
also show a rapid transition to Microsoft's latest browser. Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari, and Opera's browser
could also take advantage of the Firefox delays.
Firefox 3.6 will have a Personas plug-in that will let users
customize the appearance of the browser. Corporations could also use this
feature to put company logos in front of users. Other improvements include
improved launch times and better security.
Looking ahead to future versions, Firefox 3.7 is said to
start up 25% faster on Windows and will incorporate Jetpack which is an
improved interface for plug-ins that makes them easier to write, install, and
upgrade. Version 3.7 is also expected to incorporate the first phase of work on
Electrolysis. Electrolysis is designed to improve the stability of the browser
by isolating processes into separate components. Plug-ins will also be moved to
a process separate from the main browser. By separating components in this way,
a problem with a process or plug-in won't crash the entire browser. Another key
improvement with version 3.7 is called Weave. This plug-in will synchronize
bookmarks, passwords, plug-ins, and open tabs across different Firefox windows.
Firefox version 4.0 will likely deliver major interface
changes and will do away with the menu bar and use some sort of a pop-down menu
instead. According to a blog post from Mozilla designer Stephen Horlander, the
current thought is that version 4.0 will use an App Button similar to what
we've seen with native Windows 7 applications.