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Windows 8 version of Firefox browses the web Metro-style

A special version of Firefox for Windows 8 is on the way, complete with Metro live tiles.

A special version of Firefox for Windows 8 is on the way. Mozilla is planning a Metro-style version of the browser that will integrate with the colourful live tiles of the next-generation operating system.

The new Firefox will be a new Gecko-based browser built for and integrated with the Metro environment, according to Mozilla. It'll be a full-screen app controlled by touchscreen, and capable of interacting with other apps -- opening a separate app to view a photo or play a video, for example.

Metro is Microsoft's name for the look and feel of Windows 8, with its big colourful squares, or tiles, which you tap on to open an app or reveal more information. In Windows 8, Metro replaces the start button and menu with a grid of tiles to open your apps or show you what's going on.

The Metro design language has its roots in Windows Phone, Microsoft's mobile phone software found in the Nokia Lumia 800 and other phones. I love the colourful, playful live tiles, and I'd even go so far as to say that Windows Phone makes the iPhone interface look clunky and dated.

Windows 8 is designed to work on tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. Windows 8 apps will run on tablets and computers, and Microsoft wants to share the same core code as Windows Phone apps so they can run on your phone too. That could be a killer feature: as our own Andy Hoyle point out, apps could make Windows Phone the dominant mobile OS. Click play below to see the Lumia 800 in action.

The Windows 8 Firefox lands in prototype form this spring, with a beta version and a final release coming in the second half of the year.

Windows 8 is expected at the end of the year, but if you want to see how it looks so far, here's how to install Windows 8 alongside your normal OS. And if you're feeling nostalgic, check out my 25 years of Windows in pictures.