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Mozilla's Metro-friendly Firefox for Win 8.1 to arrive in December

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A Metro-friendly version of Firefox is finally coming to Windows 8, more than a year after Mozilla first floated the new browser.

Mozilla’s Firefox planners have pegged 10 December as the release date for the first iteration of the browser to support Microsoft’s boxy, fondleable interface.

Builds of Firefox 26 with unfinished Metro capabilities will be made available through the Aurora development channel between now and December.

The browser is for Windows 8 running on regular desktops and Microsoft Surface fondleslabs. The plan emerged at a meeting of Mozilla’s Firefox planning team on Wednesday.

Mozilla had released a preview edition of Firefox for Windows 8's Metro interface in October, but the second foot hadn’t dropped on a final release.

Instead, cutting-edge Firefox users had to rely on preview builds through nightly channels.

There was no word on why Mozilla has not moved forward, but Windows 8 has proved unpopular thanks to Microsoft’s product designers insisting the Metro tile interface was the only way forward, ditching and their decision to relegate the Classic desktop experience.

A December release date now puts the Metro-capable version of Firefox onto the virtual shelves after Microsoft’s delivery of Windows 8.1 for desktop users on October 17. Mobile device users have to wait an extra 24 hours for their Win 8.1 fix.

Windows 8.1 restores, in part, the Classic experience with a Start Button, as well introducing an option to boot to the traditional start screen and the ability for Windows 8 apps to be displayed to the full size of the screen, rather than squeezed into rigid sizes.

It was possibly this last feature that would have cleared the way for Firefox’s creators to crack on.

Still, it’s unclear whether a version of Firefox is coming for the ARM-based Surface RT death pad from Microsoft that nobody is buying.

Mozilla said last year that Microsoft wouldn’t give it the APIs to build a version of Firefox for Surface RT, so it had no plans to build a browser for the device. ®

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