With Microsoft hard at work on Internet Explorer 9 and Google already offering beta releases of Chrome 5, the Mozilla folks are under quite a bit of competitive pressure. According to a blog post by Firefox Director Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's response may be to have a feature-packed Firefox 4 release out by the end of November.
At least, that's what the tentative roadmap in Beltzner's latest presentation calls for. The "Director of Firefox" says Firefox 3.7 will be no longer, with the "out-of-process plugins" feature it was supposed to bring now due in Firefox 3.6.4 later this month. As for Firefox 4, Beltzner sums his aspirations for the next release with these three bullet points:
Fast: making Firefox super-duper fast Powerful: enabling new open, standard Web technologies (HTML5 and beyond!), Empowering: putting users in full control of their browser, data, and Web experience.
The presentation shows a completely revamped Windows user interface much like that mockup we saw last December, and it talks of additions like a preference panel to manage website permissions, a new add-ons manager, new development tools, 64-bit support, hardware acceleration with Direct2D, and multi-touch support.
The presentation says "PLANS MIGHT CHANGE" in bold, red type, so Mozilla might not be able to meet these rather ambitious goals in such a short period of time. Still, if they pull it off, you can expect "frequent" Firefox 4 beta releases to start hitting the web in July, with the first release candidate to follow in mid-October or so.
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