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Firefox 18 delivers a jolt of speed to Web apps and games

Performance is now up to 25 percent faster thanks to a new JavaScript compiler, Mozilla says.

We've known for some time now that Firefox 18 would bring some significant speed improvements to Mozilla's popular browser, and the final version--released today--made good on that promise officially.

In fact, a new JavaScript compiler in the software is delivering performance improvements of up to 25 percent on Web apps and games, Mozilla says.

To get a taste of those improvements for yourself, you can check out BananaBread, a 3D Web game created by the Mozilla Developer Network and powered exclusively by HTML5, WebGL, and JavaScript, Mozilla noted in a Tuesday post on the Mozilla Blog.

On the desktop

What else is new in this latest Firefox update? Besides IonMonkey, the open source browser's new just-in-time (JIT) compiler, there are also a few other interesting additions.

First, Mac users will surely appreciate the fact that Firefox 18 now supports high-resolution Retina Display, for instance. The result is a sharper Web experience when watching movies, playing games, and browsing on OS X 10.7 and higher, Mozilla says.

Also included in Firefox 18 is preliminary support for WebRTC, an open framework for the Web that enables real time communications in the browser.

On Android

On the mobile side, meanwhile, Firefox 18 for Android now offers search suggestions as you type so as to make it easier to find what you're looking for on the Web.

"When you start typing into the Awesome Bar, Firefox will ask you if you'd like to opt-in to search suggestions," Mozilla explains.

Search suggestions are conducted over a secure connection to protect your user data, it notes.

Finally, Firefox 18 for Android also adds new security features. Specifically, the mobile browser now protects users from malicious websites by warning them whenever they encounter one that may be used for malware or phishing.

Ready to give this latest Firefox a try? It's now available as a free download for both Android and the desktop, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.


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