Not everyone gets by with the default browser on their computer, and when it comes to picking an alternative, Firefox is one of the most popular out there, having clawed back support from upstart rivals like Google Chrome and Opera in recent years by switching to a rapid release cycle, ensuring major new versions of the browser are released every six weeks.

It’s true to say that individual updates often fail to deliver anything substantial, but cumulatively they roll together to produce a web browser that is radically different to the one – version 4 – that marked the start of a new era back in 2011.

Some of the landmark new features we’ve seen include a per-site Permissions Manager, enhanced Sync options, tabs on demand, silent updates and add-on enhancements. We also saw the launch of specific development branches including UX, which has led to the new Australis user interface, which sees a streamlined tab, revamped menu and customisation features.

One group particularly well served by the rapid release cycle have been developers, and a plethora of tools from Javascript Scratchpad (from Firefox 6) to full-blown Developer Toolbar (from Firefox 16) have worked their way into successive builds as Firefox courts this important community of users.

And underpinning this all are a constantly evolving set of performance improvements, standards support (HTML5 and CSS3 are constantly being added to, for instance) and bug fixes.

Note that this is the portable version of Firefox Portable 48. New features include:

- NEW. Enhanced protection against harmful downloads! 
- NEW. Process separation (e10s) is enabled for some of you. Like it? Let us know and we'll roll it out to more.
- NEW. Add-ons that have not been verified and signed by Mozilla will not load
- NEW. GNU/Linux fans: Get better Canvas performance with speedy Skia support. Try saying that three times fast
- NEW. Various WebRTC embetterments
- NEW. Searching for something already in your bookmarks or open tabs? We added super smart icons to let you know
- NEW. Windows folks: Tab (move buttons) and Shift+F10 (pop-up menus) now behave as they should in Firefox customization mode
- NEW. The media parser has been redeveloped using the Rust programming language

Verdict

Firefox 48 Portable includes better protection against harmful downloads and more.