Mozilla today delivered Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta, a version of its flagship web browser aimed at Windows 8.x-based tablets and other touch-based PCs. Like Google's Chrome, this version of Firefox can be set as the default browser and used like a full-screen Modern app.
Before getting into this, let me get this one bit out of the way: Also like Google Chrome, Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta cannot be used with Windows RT, unfortunately.
"Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta is ready for download and testing," a new post on the Firefox Future Releases blog notes. "This touch-friendly, tile-based Firefox is optimized for Microsoft’s Windows 8 Modern UI and designed to ensure users get the best Firefox browsing experience possible on their Windows 8 tablets, touch-screen laptops and other compatible devices."
Key features include:
New start screen. The Firefox 28 start screen is tile-based and offers one-tap access to Top Sites, Bookmarks, History and the Firefox Awesome Bar (address bar). It's also kind of a panoramic experience that extends horizontally off the right edge of the screen.
View modes. Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta is used full-screen like a Modern app or can be used on the "snapped" or "fill" part of a Snap display.
Share charm integration. Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta lets you share with other apps via the Share charm. This includes Facebook and Twitter sharing and email-based sharing as expected, but also Reading List, which is nice. You can also share a selection of text from a web page via Mail (or, if installed, OneNote).
I've only just started looking at Firefox for Windows 8 Touch Beta, but so far so good. If you are using Windows 8 on a touch-based device, you should check it out. Just know that to use the Modern-like version of the browser you need to make Firefox your default browser: This removes, or hides, the Modern version of IE from the system for reasons no one can adequately explain.