If Firefox is your preferred web browser, but Windows 8 is your preferred tablet operating system then you may have been waiting a long time for Mozilla to release a touch-friendly version of its web browser for Windows 8 and later. Now the wait’s kind of over.
Firefox for Windows 8 Touch beta is now available. Technically this is a pre-release build designed for testing, but as a public beta it’s a lot more stable than the Aurora build released in September and if you’re willing to risk a few bugs you can probably now use Firefox as your default browser… if you still want to.
The browser is designed with a full-screen user interface and support for gesture-based navigation. Swipe from the top to reveal browser tabs. Tap large icons on the new tab page for bookmarks, history, or top sites. Navigate forward or back by hitting the plus button or back arrow.
Overall the browser works pretty well on a touchscreen device, and if you’d prefer to use the classic desktop view you can reboot into desktop mode and continue using Firefox with its classic user interface.
The only problem is that it’s taken Mozilla so long to get around to launching the browser that folks have had plenty of time to get used to alternatives. Internet Explorer has been available with a touch-centric UI since Windows 8 first launched, and Google Chrome has offered a touch-friendly version almost as long. I kind of wonder if Firefox for Windows 8 Touch will appeal to anyone other than long-time Firefox fans who have been waiting (im)patiently.
You can grab the latest beta release from the Firefox Beta download page.