Another month, another beta release from Mozilla as Firefox 4 lumbers toward an early 2011 release.
The good folks at the open source foundation today released the eighth beta version of Firefox 4, around five weeks after the release of beta 7 and around three weeks after a planned, though admittedly tentative, ship date.
While last month's beta was considered ''feature complete'', beta 8 not only squashes more than 1400 bugs but also makes a number of noteworthy feature refinements. Set up for Firefox Sync, a tool that allows access to history, passwords, bookmarks and even open tabs across multiple devices, has been simplified, while the add-ons manager has received a polish and WebGL 3D rendering got a number of tweaks and improvements. Those of you with a penchant for lists can check out the full list of bug fixes in the beta 8 release notes. Heavy Hulu users should steer clear of this release, with issues relating to user agent detection preventing the site's content from being displayed to Firefox 4 beta users.
Two more beta releases are expected ahead of a final release of Firefox 4 early next year. As of 5AM PST, there were 479 ''blocking bugs'' to be fixed before a final build could be signed off.
Firefox 4, based on the Gecko 2.0 engine, will bring an updated user interface, new ways to organise tabs, a revamped add-on manager, support for HTML5 video standards, multitouch support on Windows 7 and a range of performance and security enhancements.
As of early this morning, the Firefox 4 beta page was still linking to beta 7 as the latest available version, though beta 8 was available via a number of official mirrors.
In the meantime, Firefox Mobile 4 Beta 3 for Android and Nokia's Maemo are also expected to be released shortly, with a Mozilla page indicating a December 21 release. The release notes for the latest desktop Firefox 4 beta also point out that, to continue using Firefox Sync after updating to Firefox 4 Beta 8, users will need to also update to Firefox Mobile 4 Beta 3. The second beta of the mobile browser was released on November 5.
Image Credit: viritech