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11 January 2013, 16:10

Firefox 19 betas arrive for the desktop and Android

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Viewing a PDF in the browser
Zoom Viewing a PDF in the browser
Mozilla has released beta versions of Firefox 19 for the desktop and Android. The desktop version enables PDF.js, a built-in JavaScript-based PDF viewer, which brings native integration of the format to the browser and eliminates the need for plugins. The Firefox for Android beta gets additional support for the ARMv6 architecture, including phones from LG, HTC and ZTE, and also now supports themes.

The PDF.js viewer allows users to view PDF files in Firefox without a need for a third-party plugin. The feature has been in development since 2011 and previous versions of the feature have been available in earlier Firefox versions, albeit disabled by default. In those older versions it could be enabled by setting the pdfjs.disabled value to false in the browser's about:config pages. PDF files opened in the new viewer fill the whole browser page; PDF.js can also shows page thumbnails in a sidebar and offers controls to zoom, save and print the PDF file.

For developers, the new Firefox desktop version adds an experimental Remote Web Console which can connect to Firefox for Android and Firefox OS web applications and interact with them from within the desktop installation of Firefox. Another experimental addition is a Browser Debugger for add-on and browser developers. Both experimental features are disabled by default.

The Android version of Firefox gets theme support, which means that users can personalise their mobile browser by selecting imagery from the Mozilla theme directory. Firefox for Android also has its own Google-powered Search Widget where users can search the web with Google and open results in Firefox. The widget can be added by dragging the "Firefox" widget to one of the home screens.

With extended ARMv6 support in Firefox for Android, the browser now also runs on the LG Optimus One, T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide, HTC Wildfire S and ZTE R750 mobile phones. The minimum CPU requirement for the browser has been lowered to 600MHz clock speed. Work on improving performance on resource-limited phones is important for Mozilla as it works to get Firefox OS running on very low cost mobile devices in the future.

More details on all changes in the beta release of Firefox 19 are available in the release notes for the desktop and mobile versions. Firefox 19 Beta is available for desktop users on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux from the Firefox Beta channel. Firefox 19 Beta for Android can be downloaded from the Google Play store and can be run alongside the stable version of Firefox.


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