Firefox 4 downloads top 7 million in 24 hours

A year-long development cycle apparently wasn't enough to sour users on Firefox 4, with Mozilla's browser downloaded more than seven million times in the first 24 hours after its release on March 22.

In a blog post spotted by Engadget, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs said Firefox 4 had been downloaded 7.1 million times in that first 24 hours. While that figure is behind the 8.3 million downloads Firefox 3 clocked up in its first 24 hours in 2008, it is well ahead of the 2.35 million downloads Internet Explorer 9 racked up in its first 24 hours after release.

At the time of writing, the browser had clocked up nearly 14.7 million downloads, with the majority coming from Europe and North America. Mozilla has set up a live counter of downloads here.

Based on the Gecko 2.0 engine, Firefox 4 features an all new user interface, new ways to organize tabs, a revamped add-on manager, support for HTML5 video standards, multitouch support on Windows 7 and a range of performance and security enhancements.

Final versions of Firefox 4 for Android and Maemo are expected to be released in the next couple of weeks, according to Mr Kovacs.

''If you are one of the more than 400 million users of Firefox already, or if you are brand new to Firefox, welcome to 4, we hope you enjoy the freedom,'' he said.

Mozilla has indicated a desire to move to a faster release schedule following Firefox 4, with mozilla.org co-founder and Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich telling developers that users could be running the fifth version of Firefox just months after Firefox 4 is released.

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