Mozilla released Wednesday a new version of Firefox 4 Beta that the company says runs web sites much faster than previous versions of the browser.
Overall, the improvements mean "pages load faster, interactions with Websites are snappier," Mozilla says in its blog. "For developers, this means you can build richer high-performance Web applications and explore the world of 3D graphics, inherent to the Web."
In delivering hardware-accelerated graphics, Firefox 4 Beta takes advantage of DirectX technology in Windows and OpenGL in Mac OS X. However, not all graphics cards or video drivers support hardware acceleration, so the improvements could require an upgrade to work on a particular system.
Mozilla plans to release additional betas before the final version of Firefox 4. The company had planned to release the browser this month. However, development delays pushed back the release to early 2011.
Firefox is the second most used browser on the Web, behind Microsoft Internet Explorer. Microsoft released IE 9 in public beta in September. While the browser adds many needed improvements, IE9 is seen more as catching up with rivals than breaking new ground.