Firefox 18 Launches With New IonMonkey JavaScript Engine, WebRTC And Retina Support

Right on schedule, Mozilla released the latest stable version of its Firefox browser for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Firefox 18 is the first stable version to feature Mozilla’s new IonMonkey JavaScript compiler. Given the right benchmark, IonMonkey outperforms Mozilla’s old compiler by more than 25 percent, and most Web apps, and especially browser-based games, should be significantly faster on Firefox 18.

To show off this new-found power, Mozilla is highlighting BananaBread today, a 3D web game developed by the Mozilla Developer Network that’s powered exclusively by the trinity of HTML5, WebGL, and JavaScript (the game itself, by the way, isn’t actually new but was release last August).

As expected, Firefox 18 also brings support for high-resolution Retina displays to the stable channel. The browser now also uses a new algorithm for scaling images, which should result in better image quality on quite a few sites that depend on in-browser scaling.

Also new in Firefox 18 is preliminary support for the new in-browser WebRTC communications framework for real-time video and audio chats.

One feature that didn’t make it into this release, by the way, is Mozilla’s new built-in PDF reader. While the organization has been working on this for a while, it will only make it into the beta release that’s expected to arrive on Thursday.

New In Firefox For Android: IonMonkey, Phishing Protection And Google New Search Widget Integration

As usual, Firefox for Android is also getting an update today. Just like the desktop version, Firefox for Android now uses IonMonkey. The mobile browser now features opt-in search suggestions in the Awesome Bar. These, Mozilla writes, “are conducted over a secure connection to protect your user data.”

The mobile browser now also includes new anti-phising and anti-malware features that warn users when they encounter a malicious website.

Another interesting new feature of Firefox for Android is its integration with the Google Now search widget.