Mozilla rolls out Firefox 15, updated Android tablet app

Firefox logo in space

Detailed within a post on the official company blog earlier today, Mozilla announced the launch of Firefox 15 in addition to a revamped version of Firefox for Android tablet devices running Honeycomb. Among the variety of new features in Firefox 15, this version of Firefox finally adds background updating. After upgrading to Firefox 15, all future upgrades to the Firefox browser will be conducted automatically without the need for any user action. This feature has been widely available within Google Chrome for quite some time and simplifies the updating process for the novice user significantly. The new updating feature basically allows Firefox to automatically download updates to the software, apply the update while the browser is currently in use and load the updated version after the user eventually restarts Firefox. 

Firefox Memory LeaksIn addition to silent updates, Mozilla has also optimized Firefox 15 for any user that has installed a large amount of add-ons by preventing the majority of memory leaks. Prior to this update, memory leaks from both high quality and suspect add-ons would dramatically slow down the browser for users.

According to a blog post created by Nicholas Nethercote, he stated “Over the past year, Mozilla has made great progress in reducing Firefox’s memory consumption.  However, the excessive memory consumption caused by add-ons with memory leaks has remained an ongoing problem. Firefox 15 fixes that problem.  We have confirmed, via in-house testing and from real-world telemetry data, that it prevents the vast majority of leaks that occur in existing add-ons.”

Beyond the memory improvements, the development team behind Firefox 15 has improved support for game creators working with WebGL. After adding support for compressed textures, game developers should be able to utilize higher-resolution textures within 3D games that have been built to play within a Firefox browser window. To prove the concept of 3D gaming within a browser window, the team at Mozilla created a demo of a 3D first person shooter called BananaBread; a game which was running in the Firefox browser without the help of any plugins. However, the game is also playable within any browser that offers the same features; Google Chrome for instance.

Firefox for Android tabletsOn Android tablets, Mozilla has launched a new version of Firefox that offers a significantly faster start-up time as well as faster page loading. After Firefox users upgrade to the new version currently located on the Google Play Store, they can use Firefox Sync to link up personal details from their desktop version of Firefox and find information like bookmarks, browsing history and passwords on the redesigned Awesome screen. 

In addition, Mozilla has added a feature that allows a user to switch between a mobile version and Web version of a site more easily. Within the browser menu, users will find a setting called “Request Desktop Site” and that can be tapped to bring up the Web version of any particular site. Other features that have been added to this new version of the Firefox browser for Android tablets include the ability to use “ctrl-F” to find something on a page, a tool for selecting text and tabs that can be closed with a simple swipe.