Don't count on seeing the final Firefox 3.1 release any time in the immediate future. Following a succession of delays since October, Mozilla has announced that a first quarter release of the product is unlikely and that it will add another beta to the development cycle due to problems with the new TraceMonkey JavaScript engine.

As it stands now Firefox 3.1 beta 3 will be released next week, come hell or high water, with a fourth beta expected to arrive in around seven weeks. The company is facing increased pressure from rival browser makers, which have recently made moves of their own. Microsoft, for instance, may wrap up Internet Explorer 8 as early as next month while just a couple of days ago Apple launched a public beta of Safari 4. Both browsers promise to give Firefox a run for its money with faster JavaScript engines and new features. Meanwhile, Opera too is working on a JavaScript engine overhaul while Chrome has rapidly moved out of beta and is looking to gain more traction around May by introducing Firefox-like extensions support.