Mozilla Unwraps Preview of Firefox Designed for Windows 8 Tablets

Mozilla's touch-friendly version of Firefox intended for Windows 8 tablets has graduated out of the Nightly development channel and is now available to download from the browser maker's Aurora channel. The next step is to release a beta build before a final coat of polish is applied to a stable release. In the meantime, Mozilla is asking Windows 8 tablet owners to test drive its Aurora update.

This new version of Firefox represents a complete overhaul of the browser. It was built from the ground up for the Modern user interface (UI) in Windows 8 with touch in mind at every step.

Firefox for Windows 8 Tablets

"It has a tile-based Firefox Start experience and supports Firefox Sync, Windows 8 touch and swipe gestures, Snapped and Fill views, and Windows Share integration all delivered with a streamlined, modern and beautiful interface," Mozilla explains.

At the same time, the core engine driving the tablet friendly browser is the same Gecko code found in the desktop version. That means there's support for WebGL for 3D graphics, fast JavaScript performance, and hardware accelerated HTML5 video, including open video formats like WebM and proprietary formats such as H.264.

The final version isn't likely to look much different than the preview build that's available now. Instead of adding a bunch of new features between now and its release in 2014, Mozilla said over the coming weeks it will almost exclusively be working on improving performance and responsiveness.