Firefox for touch screens goes to beta
As the stable version of Firefox gets additional social features, the lesser-used Beta finally gets a Windows 8 touch screen-friendly interface and Firefox for Android updates, too.
Firefox fans may not have felt like this week's update to the stable version delivered much, but there's much more to get excited about if you've got a Windows 8 touch screen and are comfortable using Firefox Beta.
Firefox 28 Beta for Windows 8 and 8.1 "Metro" mode debuted Thursday and offers a touch-friendly interface, with pinch-to-zoom, swipes for moving backward and forward through your history, and a tile-based Firefox start screen.
It also has different view modes. Full screen takes up your entire screen, while "snap" turns the browser into a narrow, sidebar-like view, and "fill" allows the browser to run larger alongside another Windows 8 app that's been snapped to a narrow view.
This version of Firefox now behaves more like a proper Windows 8 app, with the deep Share hooks to your other Windows 8 apps to make streamline sharing.
The Metro mode for Firefox has been a long time coming, as it first debuted in the Firefox Nightly builds in October 2012.
There are other important changes in this beta besides the Windows 8 mode. The Gamepad API for browser-based gameplay is in the beta, as is VP9 video decoding and Mac OS X Notification Center support for Web notifications. The full changelog is here.
The Windows 8 mode for Firefox is expected to arrive in the stable version of the browser around six weeks from today.
Firefox 27 stable, which arrived Tuesday for Windows, Mac, and Linux, adds more partners to Firefox's Social API. The tighter integration with Delicious and Saavn allows fans to keep one eye on those services, much like the Facebook Messenger integration before them.
Meanwhile, Firefox 27 for Android, another Tuesday release, came with support for TLS 1.1 and 1.2, for better security, and re-enabled Flash support in the browser, which had been broken by Android 4.4 KitKat.
Firefox 28 Beta for Android contains a mix of ease-of-use and under-the-hood changes, including VP9 decoding support and predictive lookup when tapping the location bar.