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Firefox 18 promises 25 percent speed boost for web apps

09 Jan 2013
Mozilla Firefox logo

Mozilla has made available Firefox 18, the latest release of its browser, featuring a new JavaScript compiler to speed content such as web apps and games.

The Android version of its browser has also been updated with enhanced search and security features.

Available to download now for Windows, Mac OS and Linux PCs, Firefox 18's major enhancement is a new JavaScript compiler, IonMonkey, claimed by Mozilla to make web apps and games perform up to 25 percent faster than before.

As a demonstration, Mozilla developers have ported a 3D first person shooter game to run in HTML5, WebGL and JavaScript. Dubbed "BananaBread", this can be found on the Mozilla Developer Network site.

Other enhancements include support for the high-resolution Retina displays on Apple MacBook systems, supported with OS X 10.7 and above.

Firefox 18 also includes preliminary support for WebRTC, an open-source project being developed to enable browser-based communications such as voice call and video chat via Javascript APIs.

Meanwhile, Firefox for Android now offers search suggestions as users type into the address bar (or the ‘Awesome Bar' as Mozilla calls it). However, Firefox asks users first if they wish to opt in to search suggestions, which are conducted over a secure connection to protect user data, according to Mozilla.

The mobile browser also gains phishing and malware protection features by enabling Safe Browsing, which uses a list of list of known bad sites to warn users when they are about to browse to a site that may harbour such threats.

Firefox for Android supports devices with Android 2.2 or above, requiring about 16MB of internal storage and 512MB of RAM, and is available via Google Play.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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