The next major release of Firefox is inching closer to reality. After a lengthy beta period, Mike Beltzner, director of Firefox development at Mozilla has announced that the company is “setting an aggressive code freeze target” for next Wednesday and hopes to have the release candidate version of the browser out to testers by the first week of June – if they aren’t hit by any show-stopping bugs between now and then.

He added that the Firefox team was down to 52 code blockers and 12 non-code blockers, and said progress had been “great”. Among the new features in Firefox 3.5 are the enhanced JavaScript rendering engine to speed up web apps, an improved session restore tool, some HTML 5 support and a private browsing mode.

In related news, Mozilla has also launched the Alpha 1 version of its Firefox browser for Windows Mobile 6 – dubbed Fennec. This major release improves memory behavior, moves the user interface to a CSS-based solution that'll make resolution independence easier, and adds support for add-ons. If you'd like to give it a try, you can download the cab file and make sure to read the release notes here.