These days the Mozilla Foundation is feeling the heat.
Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has delivered a surprisingly
sporty and compatible Internet Explorer 9. And Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Chrome browser is becoming the first new browser in some time to gobble
up a significant market share.
I. Firefox 5 Blazes Ahead on Schedule
But nothing lays concerns to rest better than
adopting an aggressive schedule and sticking to it. That's exactly what
Mozilla did, with the release of Firefox 5's second beta.
Delivered right on schedule, the new build
features speed improvements and a number of new features, including:
The inclusion of CSS animations support was
particularly important, as the Webkit source (which Chrome and Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) Safari browser are based on) already supports it. Mozilla
and its collaborators also made some tweaks to the GUI art, which they say are
subtle, but will be noticed if you return to FF4.
Aside from new functionality and speed-ups, the
beta also resolves many stability issues and other bugs that cropped up in
Firefox 4. A full log of these changes is found here.
Full release notes can be found here.
And last, but not least, the download can be found here.
Firefox 5 is scheduled to release June 21 -- less
than a month from now. It will contend with Internet Explorer 10, which
being previewed, and Chrome 12, which is currently being beta tested.
II. Opera Mini 6 Hits the iPad, iPhone
Yesterday also saw the release of Opera Mini 6 for
the iPad and iPhone. The first major release for the iOS platform since
its launch title -- Opera Mini 5 -- Norwegian software company Opera Software
ASA (OPERA) is hoping
to replicate its previous success. Opera saw 1
million downloads of Mini 5 for the iPhone/iPad in a mere 24 hours after its
Available on the
iTunes store now for free, the new browser features:
It also reportedly gives the browser a healthy
injection of speed.
Opera’s, CEO Lars Boilesen compared the release to
a rock concert, stating, "I would compare it to walking onto the stage and
hearing the roar of the crowd. We have put in a lot of rehearsal and clever
thought behind the new experience. The Opera Mini browser has always kicked up
the tempo when downloading pages; now the browsing flows along to a smooth,
While Opera is seeing a
bit more competition these days -- namely from the Firefox Mobile browser for
Android -- it's still makes the most used mobile browsing pair in the world,
Opera Mini and Opera Mobile. These mobile browsers are unique in that
they leverage heavy server-side compression, something the competition still
hasn't embraced. The net effect for users is that in areas with poor signal or
low data speeds pages load much faster in Opera Mini/Mobile than in their
quote: it looks like they are admitting that 4 wasn't too good.