Firefox 11, live this week, gets dev tools and add-on sync, but not much more

Firefox 11 goes live this week. Will the new edition of the popular browser help revive Mozilla's fortunes? 

Reuters
Firefox 11 goes live this week. Here, a different kind of Firefox.

In late January, Mozilla released Firefox 10, the latest edition of its popular browser. Now, less than two months later – and after a brief security scare – the company is trotting out Firefox 11. The new browser is not particularly laden with bells and whistles, although there are a couple of notable functionalities, including the option to sync add-ons across various computers, as well as a suite of development tools, such as the new Mozilla "Style Editor."

Writing at PC Mag, Michael Muchmore gives a thumbs up to the development tools and new add-ons, but finds the performance on Firefox 11 to be lacking. 

"Firefox 11 can nearly match Chrome on JavaScript speed, and holds its own when it comes to HTML5 support and a trimmed down interface that gives the Web page center stage," Muchmore notes. "But when compared side-by-side with Chrome, Firefox falls just a bit short in terms of HTML5 support and whiz-bang features like Chrome Instant, which loads pages from your history before you even finish typing their addresses or search terms in the address bar."

According to Net Applications, in February of 2012, almost half of all Internet users browsed the Web using Internet Explorer, the Microsoft desktop OS. By comparison, during that same time period, 19.35 percent of consumers used Firefox and 17.48 percent used Chrome. But Chrome has seen its market shares rise in recent months, while Firefox has consistently slipped. 

Will Firefox 11 be enough to halt the slide? Well, probably not, admits Preston Gralla of Computerworld. "[A]part from the add-on sync, there's really nothing in this new version of Firefox to get anyone to switch from a competing browser," he writes. "If Mozilla wants to do something about its slowly shrinking market share, it's going to have to come up with something significantly better than Firefox 11."

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