Skip to main content

Mozilla previews new Firefox Metro browser for Windows 8

Mozilla Firefox update
Something's different about you

Mozilla previewed its new Firefox Metro created-from-scratch browser for the new tile-centric Windows 8 Thursday.

Users running the developer-aimed RTM version of Windows 8 on their PCs can now download an early build of the new Firefox.

Once users download the prototype, the program will automatically update to keep the stream of new features flowing.

The preview is definitely a work in progress as it still has plenty of bugs and many features missing, such as Flash support, though it's still a functional, full-screen web browser.

And while it also lacks profile-guided optimization, making it a bit more sluggish than the final version should be, it does give curious users a glance into the Mozilla crystal ball.

What's new in Metro Firefox

The new preview's most prominent features provide touch-based controls and an aesthetic that brings it in line with Windows 8's style. The build will also support Metro multi-touch and swipe gestures with compatible displays.

A lot has been done to the browser to match the Metro design of Windows 8. Metro decided to focus more on typography and brightly colored tiles than the "classic Desktop" environment - the graphical-icon interface that's become the norm for modern computers.

New Metro elements permeate the preview build inside and out, including some particularly notable features.

The prototype adds a Firefox title for users to launch the app from. It added a "charm" too, for Windows 8's vertical tool bar used to quick launch applications.

The new Firefox actually relies on the tile aesthetic in the browser itself. Users can tap on tiles to go to their top visited sites and bookmarked web pages.

The prototype also shows off the new simplified Australis interface which is "streamlined, modern and beautiful," according to Mozilla's preview announcement.

Far from done

The build is a very early version of the new browser, and as such comes with a few quirks. For example, Firefox must be set as the default browser for it to work.

Also, users may run into a few errors when updating Firefox if they have both Desktop and Metro open at the same time.

In the next few weeks and months, Mozilla will better integrate Firefox into Windows 8, improve performance and responsiveness and will be "finishing up all the necessary work to deliver a first class Firefox experience for Windows 8."

Mozilla also encouraged users to provide feedback and report any bugs may encounter.

If you haven't heard already, Microsoft has Oct. 25 set for it's Windows 8 reveal, so Mozilla's right on track with this browser preview.

Via Mozilla Blog