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.

Firefox for Windows 8 Touch beta

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.

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7 replies on “Mozilla releases Firefox for Windows 8 Touch beta”

  1. Meh, I used to be a FF guy, but they dropped the ball waiting this long. Chrome came out with Metro mode immediately (not that I use chrome).
    side note, anyone else with a DV8P not able to use metro mode?

    1. If you’re not FF guy anymore and you don’t use Chrome. What do you use? Opera, IE, Safari?

      1. On my windows tablets, ie11 has exceeded my expectations. On my mac its safari and Firefox depending on if I’m plugged in.

  2. How’s rendering and all that technical info compared to the desktop UI? For example, assuming this is a stable release, if you’re doing online banking, would you switch to desktop mode? In other words, how much is actually shared? On Android, there is a lot of code sharing but Firefox (including other mobile browsers BTW) has some rendering and form input issues. I personally wouldn’t do online banking on a phone browser.

    1. I haven’t tried it but it should be all shared because it’s really still one app browser… This isn’t a true RT app release but just the desktop browser with a Metro mode, which mainly just changes the layout to full screen and enables touch screen optimizations…

      Though, it’s also why they won’t be releasing this for Windows RT… basically, full W8 allows for hybrid apps that work in both environments and that’s what Mozilla has supposedly done here… May be over simplifying it but that sums it up…

  3. Have Mozilla added a way to switch seamlessly between Metro mode and Desktop mode with all tabs in place? Sincerely, everyone with a laptop/tablet hybrid Windows 8 machine.

    1. This version does… You can switch back and forth all day and all your open tabs switch over as well…

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