Mozilla ramps up Firefox 3 schedule

Three new Firefox previews to be released near the end of April, May, and June

Mozilla Thursday unveiled new details of its schedule for Firefox 3, the next major upgrade to the popular open-source browser.

Alpha editions of Firefox 3 will be released monthly, said Mike Schroepfer, the company's vice president of engineering, in a posting to the mozilla.dev.planning forum. "We will do date-driven alpha releases on a one-month cadence," said Schroepfer.

The new schedule shows three more previews -- Alphas 4, 5 and 6 -- be released near the end of April, May, and June, respectively, with a feature-complete Beta 1 dropping into testers' hands July 31. The most recent test edition, Alpha 3, was posted March 27.

Firefox 3, which Mozilla has said should appear in final form in the last quarter of the year, will feature a completely-revamped bookmarking system, new identity management tools and support for off-line Web applications. The redesigned bookmarks, dubbed Places, will debut in Alpha 5, which is due to roll out May 31.

According to numbers reported earlier this month from metrics vendor Net Applications, Firefox had 15.1 percent of the global browser market. Microsoft's Internet Explorer remained the leader, however, with a 78.6 percent share.

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