With Firefox 8 now available to everyone in the stable channel, all of the other Firefox versions are graduating as well. Firefox 9 is moving from Aurora to the Beta channel, Firefox 10 is moving from the Nightly channel to Aurora.
For the users who want the cutting edge, Firefox 10 should be the interesting release. It's already spent six weeks in the Nightly channel, where active development happens.
In this time, the features that will eventually make it into Firefox 10 when it lands in the stable channel, early next year, have been fleshed out.
As soon as Firefox 10 ends up in the Aurora channel, new features, at least big ones, will not be added.
With that said, here are some of the things you can look forward to in the upcoming Firefox 10. Note that many of the features have not been finalized and that there is a risk they may not end up in the stable release.
This is not just an empty warning, tab animations for example had been included in Firefox 8 and were available for many weeks before being removed at the very last moment.AwesomeBar suggestions will be easier to read
The AwesomeBar suggestions are getting a revamp in Firefox 10. While the feature is still in the design stage, the plan is to make the entries easier to scan and pick out, enhancing usability and also updating the look of the feature to match the rest of Firefox.New tab page
Mozilla has been working on this for quite a while, but it may finally be ready to introduce a new tab page. The feature has been available in the Firefox builds the UX (user experience) team has been putting out, separate from the regular Firefox most people use.
The new tab page has gone through several iterations, the latest is a bit spartan, it's just some tiles of a mixture of your bookmarks and most visited pages.New controls for HTML5 video and audio
Mozilla plans to revamp the buttons for the video and audio player included in Firefox. This should mean that the built-in player should look and work better for the times you encounter media content on the web.Import settings and data from Google Chrome
This feature is a rather obvious one, it's surprising that it took Mozilla this long to introduce it, but it looks like Firefox 10 will be the first Firefox to get it.Patches and fixes via add-ons rather than an entire new Firefox build
One interesting idea that may see the light of day in Firefox 10 is applying small fixes and updates as add-ons. The ideas is to not have to release a new Firefox and get the entire automatic update infrastructure going for every small fix.
An add-on that fixes the issue can be published much faster and can end up on people's computers a lot faster and easier than an entire new version of Firefox.Silent updates
Finally, one big goal for Firefox 10 are silent updates
. The plan is to make the update process a lot more seamless, reducing the problem of update fatigue.
There are several changes already being worked on to achieve this, like applying an update at shutdown instead of when Firefox first starts and having add-ons marked as compatible by default. You can find out more here.
Since Firefox 10 is still in the early stages, none of these features should be take for granted, they may not end up in the final shipping version.