What's new in Firefox 15 for desktops and Android
The latest version of Firefox 15, which is now available for both desktops and Android devices, is all about refinement.
Mozilla has made major improvements in memory management for desktop Firefox over the last year, and the latest update goes a step further by plugging memory leaks from add-ons. Many add-ons had been storing extra copies of Websites in memory, even after users closed the browser tab, so a new mechanism in Firefox 15 finds those leaks and recaptures memory.
“This means that Firefox stays responsive and stable even if an add-on is making this mistake,” Firefox Product Manager Asa Dotzler wrote in a blog post.
Firefox for desktops has some other big improvements as well. Updates now install themselves silently and in the background, which is helpful since the browser is now on a rapid release cycle. The browser also now supports compressed textures and has gotten some other graphics improvements, which you can try out in a 3D first-person shooter demo called BananaBread.
Firefox for Android Gets Much-Needed Tweaks
Mozilla released a major overhaul for its Android browser in June, with a completely new interface and much smoother browsing. The problem was that the initial version lacked some key features, such as text selection, find in page, and search suggestions.
All of that has been fixed in the latest version of Firefox for Android. The browser also allows users to close tabs by swiping, and to view the desktop version of Websites through a menu button.
Tablet support has also been added, with tabs appearing in a sidebar instead of in a drop-down list. Unfortunately, Google's Nexus 7 tablet still uses a blown-up version of the smartphone app. It'd be nice to see the sidebar come up, at least when the tablet is in landscape mode.
Between the memory improvements in desktop Firefox and the overhauled Android app, Mozilla seems to be getting its groove back. Perhaps last year's serious market share threats from Google's Chrome browser was just the kick in the pants that the group needed.