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Friday, February 07, 2014
Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta Released

Mozilla has made available for download a beta version of the Firefox for Windows 8, with the final version to be expected next month.

This touch-friendly, tile-based Firefox is optimized for Microsoft's Windows 8 Modern UI found on Windows 8 tablets, touch-screen laptops and other compatible devices.

Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta has a new tile-based Firefox start screen with one-tap access to Top Sites, Bookmarks and History. You can continue to use familiar Firefox features like the Awesome Bar.

Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta supports Touch and Swipe gestures such as 'pinch to zoom' and one-touch swipe transitions.

It also features 'Full,' 'Snapped' and 'Fill' views, meaning you have the option to chose if you want to view an app full-screen, or 'snapped' to a narrow region of the screen (typically to the left of the screen like a sidebar), or if you'd like your app to 'fill' the remaining screen area not already occupied by an app in 'snapped' state.

It has also big tiles on the start screen, making it easier to recognize and tap.

Ironically, just about the time Mozilla ships Firefox for Windows 8 Touch, Microsoft will be well on its way to releasing a second round of changes to the OS that deemphasizes the touch UI and reinstates several more features that it yanked from the desktop mode.

Microsoft is expected to release Windows 8.1 Update 1 on April 8.

Also this week, Mozilla shipped the Release version of Firefox 27 for the desktop, patching 15 security vulnerabilities, a third of them rated "critical," the company's most serious threat ranking.

The next version of Firefox is scheduled to ship March. 18. The version after that -- Firefox 29 is slated to show up April 29 -- may debut the new Australis UI that Mozilla has been working on since May 2012. Actually Mozilla has released a new Aurora version that includes Australis' simpler and customizable layout; it also brings the easier, account-based sync system.

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