We’ve been teased with screenshots from the upcoming version of Firefox, and now it’s finally here. Well, it’s not exactly here for those who want a reliable browser that won’t cause them any issues. The first beta for Firefox 4 is now ready for download, giving early adopters a chance to test out the browser, and others to just see what’d coming in the next few months.
There are a few aesthetic changes in Firefox 4, specifically that tabs have been moved to the top of the window, though not on the Mac and Linux versions just yet. The result is something more Chrome-like that can be switched byt he user if they so choose. Under the hood, Firefox adds support for many HTML5 elements, including WebM. Some aspects of HTML5, like fullscreen video aren’t usable yet, but are coming soon, presumably in a future beta. Other features include hardware-accelerated HD video and better extension support with Jetpack.
This is just the first of what will likely be several betas before the final version of Firefox 4 is released. The official release is slated for later this year. The fact that the first beta is out now is a good idea on Mozilla’s part. The Firefox browser has been losing ground to Chrome for quite some time now, and the next version looks to be gunning for Google’s browser. It is still just a beta, which gives Google time to push out similar features to the Chrome stable branch, though some of the features in Firefox 4, including WebM support were included in the recent 10.60 release of Opera. Sounds like the new browser wars are really heating up.