Firefox 4 beta 8 actually brings more than 1,400 bug fixes, some improvements to the new add-ons interface, better syncing and more hardware-accelerated WebGL support. Thereâ€™s alsoÂ a beta update for Android and Maemo mobile phones
The improvements to Firefoxâ€™s new sync feature â€” which syncs bookmarks, browsing history, user preferences and open tabs between desktop and mobile versions of Firefox â€” make signing up and starting sync easier for new users. Most of us use multiple screens every day â€” one or two computers, and at least one smartphone with a web browser â€” so keeping it all in sync is increasingly difficult. Thatâ€™s where Firefoxâ€™s sync tools come in, and the streamlined sync interface makes it even easier to pick up where you left off, no matter what device youâ€™re using.
The sync updates in Firefox 4 beta 8 coincide with similar improvements in Firefox Mobile 4 beta 3 for the Android and Maemo mobile platforms.
Firefox 4 beta 8 now supports WebGL on more graphics cards across both Mac and Windows operating systems. WebGL bridges the gap between HTML5 tools like the new Canvas tag and OpenGL, an OS-native graphics engine, toÂ speed up HTML5 web apps and animations. If youâ€™d like to see the new WebGL support in action, grab Firefox beta 8 and head over to theÂ Flight of the Navigator demo page, or check out the release notes page, which has aÂ video of the demo.
Nor is the latest beta faster only with HTML5 graphics. Although Mozilla hasnâ€™t released any precise speed figures, in our testing, the startup time was faster than beta 7, and general browsing felt snappier as well.
Firefox 4 beta 8 refines the main add-ons page (which is now a page, rather than a separate window, a nice improvement). The URL bar has been removed for the add-ons page, and the button design has been revamped. Although the new, slicker-looking buttons do make the interface a bit nicer, add-ons are still variously referred to as â€œextensionsâ€ and â€œadd-ons.â€ You can see which â€œextensionsâ€ you have installed, but then you â€œGet Add-ons.â€ Firefox veterans arenâ€™t likely to even notice the difference, but it could be confusing for new users.
TheÂ list of bug fixes for this release is extensive.
Note: This is pre-release software: you may encounter compatibility problems with some websites and add-ons.