Mozilla updated its blog on Thursday with news that Firefox Metro Preview for Windows 8 is now available to download. This version of the popular browser works in both the Windows 8 "Classic Desktop" environment as well as Microsoft's Modern UI. And as the preview's name states, Mozilla is sticking with the "Metro" label despite Microsoft's insistence to use the newer description.
The drawback to this release is that it's meant for the RTM version of Windows 8 – users of the Release Preview seem to be out of luck. The new browser can be downloaded as a nightly build from the Elm development branch which is the experimental repository where most of Mozilla's Metro development has been stored.
"This repository produces nightly builds, much like the Firefox Nightly channel. Once installed, these builds will self-update so that you can track Metro Firefox development," said Asa Dotzler, Product Manager for Firefox at Mozilla.
Dotzler said the Firefox preview includes a new Metro style Firefox Start page, support for Firefox Sync, Metro touch and swipe gestures, integration with Windows 8 "charms", and a streamlined, modern Australis interface. Naturally over the next few weeks, Mozilla will be tightening up the Windows integration, adding new features, improving performance and responsiveness, and finishing up all the necessary work so that the browser will be ready on October 26.
As seen in the screenshot above, this version of Firefox is similar to what's offered on iOS and Android, cramming the tabs in the top-right corner. Everything else is located under the address bar including bookmarks and the user's recent history. Naturally this build is more "blockish" than the mobile versions, fitting in with the Windows 8 environment.
"This is an early preview and we know there are bugs and missing features, so please don’t hesitate to share your feedback and file any bugs you find," he said.