Firefox 3.5 Due Tuesday

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The complete version of Mozilla's Firefox 3.5 is due Tuesday.

The latest incarnation of the Web browser was originally planned for release some six months ago. Various beta trial versions have been available for use in that time, with generally positive reports.

According to The Register, Mozilla has confirmed June 30 as the release date for the browser.

Among the new features are private browsing options (aka “the porn mode,” as it’s been called by many who are talking about such a setting).

In April, Mozilla engineering Vice President Mike Shave noted some of the upgrades, which include "everything from video and layout to places and the plugin service."

Firefox 3.0 debuted just over a year ago. Version 3.5 was to have been called 3.1, but the company said the myriad new features warranted a higher upgrade designation, reports Computerworld.

Many tech experts have suggested the new release could steal the thunder from Microsoft's Internet Explorer, as its share of the browser market continues to shrink.

As PC World observed, from May 2008 to May 2009 IE lost 11 percent of its global market share; at the same time, Firefox grew by twice the amount, its market share increasing by 22 percent.

Meanwhile, Firefox has rolled out a “cousin” browser in the form of Fennec’s Alpha 2, designed to work on devices running Windows Mobile 6 OS.

There also are Mac OS X and Linux versions available for download, The Register said, but those don't feature the same touch navigation and screen space options.

Other Fennec features for various mobile platforms include support zooming, bookmarks, tabbed browsing and a password manager, as well the capacity to search for, install and manage add-ons.

Also, Google recently announced an Android Native Development Kit that would allow software such as Firefox to easily run on Android phones. 

"Developers are taking a look at the NDK to see if it provides the capabilities we need to bring Fennec to Android," Jay Sullivan, Mozilla vice president of mobile, told CNET.

"If it's possible, I think our community would be interested in doing it, because Android will be appearing on more smartphones with the capabilities to provide a good browsing experience."