The four new versions is just one of the company's goals for this year. Here are seven points that the company currently has listed as its Product Priorities for 2011 on its Firefox/Roadmap wiki page:
- Ship our new technology to users in smaller bundles, more frequently: four technology shipment vehicles in 2011 (including Firefox 4) and achieve a regular cadence for shipping
- Develop a product that is responsive from "click to render": no more than 50ms delay between user action and application reaction, provide optimizations to hide network latency, and obtain metrics from users in addition to our test infrastructure
- Expand the Open Web Platform to include Apps, Social and Identity: Design and implement open systems for Identity and social interactions, design and implement Web Application Framework, and implement missing pieces of CSS/HTML required for compelling Web Applications
- Never lose the user's data or state: continue to improve stability, mitigate the cost of application failure, and interact with cloud-based storage to allow users to "take it with them"
- Shine the primary UI until it gleams: determine and optimize top 5-10 user interaction flows (ie: search for restaurant), improve tools for customization/restoration of old functionality so we can remove it from primary UI, and improve user interface polish so that Firefox feels modern, graceful and elegant
- Support modern operating systems and platforms: Windows 64-bit, OSX 10.7, Android 3.0, and ARM CPUs
- Plan for a future where Desktop, Mobile and Web Apps run on a common platform: need to design and architect towards this eventual outcome though implementation of this is not a priority
Mozilla was originally planning on having Firefox 4 out by the end of last year, but it had to delay the release. The last release was Beta 10 but there are still probably two more betas, at least one release candidate, and of course a final build. It's clear the company no longer thinks this model is a good one, and wants to accelerate its release cycle, much like Google did with Chrome.