updated 04:25 pm EST, Mon February 13, 2012
Mozilla Firefox with Metro support due in 2012
Mozilla, makers of the Firefox Internet browser, will release a version of its signature software that will resemble Microsoft's Metro user interface. A concept version will be out sometime in the spring, according to Mozilla's 2012 strategy, followed by an alpha and beta version later on, in the second half of the year. Metro uses tiles instead of the traditional Start button and menu in Windows, and Mozilla hopes to integrate its new Gecko-based browser with the Metro environment.
The Metro-focused Firefox will be full-screen and allow touch interactions while connecting with Metro through Windows 8 hooks. This will allow it to pass of tasks to another app, such as photos from a web for editing in a dedicated program.
Windows 8's classic mode for older app support will be easier to integrate into Firefox, thanks to a simple update to Firefox. As Microsoft will push the Metro interface as a core feature of the new OS, Mozilla found it necessary to have its browser perform seamlessly within the UI. Microsoft will ship Windows 8 with its own Internet Explorer 10 in Metro 8 and classic versions.
Mozilla porting its browser to the Windows 8-like (at least on the surface) Windows Phone mobile OS is unlikely, however, as it uses Microsoft's Silverlight programming foundation or XAML. Microsoft's requirements thus won't make it easy for Mozilla or other third-party web browser developers to bring their product to Windows Phone.
Microsoft doesn't immediately plan on offering a native development kit for Windows Phone, as Google does with its Android mobile OS.
The consumer preview (basically a beta) of Windows 8 with the Metro UI will be released on February 29. [via CNET]