Mozilla’s been working for months on a major re-tooling of Firefox for Android, replacing the XUL-based interface that the browser had been using with native Android elements, hoping to improve app performance. Back when it discussed this project in October of last year, Mozilla revealed this to be more of a long-term goal, and didn’t intend on having it take over the main release until sometime this year. Since then, it’s been cranking-out builds of the new version for interested testers to check out, but continued with XUL for both the primary and beta versions available in the Google Play store. Now, Mozilla starts to show progress towards finally making the interface-swap complete, upon transitioning the official Firefox for Android beta to this new, native version.
The release notes for this beta claim you should see some “significant” performance improvements, just what Mozilla was going for by moving away from XUL. Both initial app load times and those for loading new pages should be noticeably reduced. If you haven’t been following the nightly releases, you’ll also be pleased to see Adobe Flash support finally added.
Other tweaks in this new beta include improved gesture controls, a new start page, and efforts to render text for improved legibility. The beta’s available for download in the Google Play store now.