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Firefox 9 beta releases for desktop and Android now available

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Firefox 9 is now available in beta form, offering faster browsing on the desktop and a redesigned interface for Android tablet users.

Firefox for Android 9 beta
Firefox for Android 9 beta

It's only been a few days since Firefox 8 was officially released for both the desktop and mobile, but Mozilla's already released a beta for version 9. On the desktop front, the main improvement is probably the inclusion of Type Interface as part of the Spidermonkey Javascript engine — Mozilla claims it sped up Firefox benchmarks by 30 percent, with Javascript-heavy sites experiencing significantly faster browsing. Firefox 9 also plays with OS X Lion better, offering improved trackpad gesture support and Lion-style icons; its full-screen mode doesn't live in its own "space" like native apps (and Chrome) do, however.

For Android users, Firefox 9 is all about tablet optimization with an all-new look designed for bigger screens as well as a new quick-access bar for downloads, add-ons and preferences. It also supports full-screen portrait browsing, and features a redesigned way to access tabs through an easy to access sidebar. It looks like this version also runs on Android handsets as well as tablets, though Mozilla's blog didn't mention any major changes for smartphone users. Of course, all of these versions come with the usual caveat that they're not ready for prime time, but they're available now if you're feeling bold.