Firefox 15 Accelerates Browsing for Desktop, Phones and Tablets

Open source browser vendor takes aim at memory use to speed up Web surfing.

Mozilla has been waging a multi-year battle against memory bloat in its open source Firefox web browser. With today's Firefox 15 release, Mozilla is firing a major salvo in that battle, claiming a reduction in memory usage.

The memory reduction comes by way of plugging memory links in the way that third party add-ons consume memory.

In a blog post detailing the memory fix, Mozilla developers estimated that the memory improvement could be as much as a 4.8x improvement over the previous Firefox 14 release.

Tablets

Perhaps even more interesting then simply yet another Firefox release is the fact that Mozilla is now also debuting a new browser specifically designed for tablets.

In June of this year, Mozilla relaunched its mobile efforts with the new Firefox for Android release. The initial release was focused on phones only and is now being expanded with a new tablet version of the browser. Mozilla's mobile browser for Android follows the same release cycle as the desktop browser.

"Firefox for Android makes it easy to get to your favorite sites with one touch with a personalized start page and a fresh, streamlined look," Mozilla wrote in a blog post. "This release includes a new Awesome Screen that delivers all of your browsing history, bookmarks, passwords and form data."

Debugger

Over the course of this year, Mozilla has also made incremental gains with each browser release with its included developer tools. In Firefox 15, developers will now benefit from a new JavaScript Debugger.

"Firefox adds features that make it easier for developers to build amazing Web experiences," Mozilla developer Kevin Dangoor said in a blog post. "The new JavaScript Debugger is a fast, built-in tool to give greater insight into Web application code. Developers can also use the JavaScript Debugger over a local network to remotely debug apps running on Firefox for Android, greatly simplifying mobile Web development."

Both mobile and desktop developers will now also be able to use compressed textures in graphics. The end result means more effective utilization of memory for graphic intensive applications like games.

"Firefox makes animations smoother with an improved JavaScript engine and enhancements to WebGL," Mozilla stated in a blog post. "Firefox also provides game and other interactive content developers precision to within thousandths of milliseconds with high precision timing."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.




Tags: Firefox, browser


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