Web browser provider Mozilla is releasing version 18 of its Firefox web browser, with significantly increased speed for Web apps and games among its chief selling points.

Firefox 18 includes IonMonkey, a new JavaScript compiler Mozilla says makes Web apps and games perform up to 25% faster. Other new and improved features of the latest version of Firefox include support of high-resolution retina display for Mac users, as well as preliminary support for the open source WebRTC real-time communications framework. Existing Firefox users will be automatically updated to version 18.


Android users will also enjoy several unique benefits for Firefox 18, including secure opt-in search suggestions and new features to combat phishing and malware, such as warnings when users visit potentially malicious websites. Firefox 18 supports the Windows, Mac, Linux and Android platforms.

Mozilla Makes Changes behind the Scenes

Besides the changes most obvious to end users, such as faster Web performance and high-retina display, Mozilla has also made some behind-the-scenes changes in Firefox 18 that will be more apparent to programmers and developers than casual surfers.

Changes from the previous version include better image quality as the developers have changed the algorithm used when scaling HTML imagery, and switching between tabs should be somewhat faster thanks to some performance tweaks,” notes an entry on The H Open Blog.

In addition, the blog states that CSS3 flexible boxes “allow for a simpler, more responsive style of layout of page elements” and window.devicePixelRatio now provides the ratio between physical pixels and device independent pixels on a display. Other improvements and fixes include availability of CSS supports to conditionally apply codes, faster startup times, support for W3C Touch, disabling of insecure content loading on HTTPS pages and better responsiveness for users gaining access through a proxy.

Firefox Improvements Continue

Mozilla is kicking off 2013 the same way it ended 2012, with the latest step in a long line of Firefox improvements. In November 2012, Mozilla partnered with Facebook to integrate its messenger tool directly into the web browser’s interface. In previous months, Firefox had been steadily improving its Social API and recently introduced a beta version of Facebook Messenger for Firefox. With improvements to the Social API, Firefox changed the way the web browser interacts with social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and news sites.

In addition to the Social API, Mozilla has been gradually improving its web browser's capabilities. It recently opened its Aurora marketplace app store, which is similar to the Play Store that Google Chrome has.

Mozilla has also recently updated its privacy features with the help of Privacyfix so that users can see when sites, like Facebook change or have privacy policy breaches.

Firefox 19 is tentatively scheduled for release Tuesday, February 19, 2013.