Mozilla is hoping to release the first beta version of the latest instalment of its Firefox web browser next month, ahead of an official launch in October or November.

Speaking during a webcast, Mike Beltzner, vp of engineering for Firefox, said that the main objectives for the new version would be speed, power and user empowerment. "Performance is a huge, huge, huge thing for us," he said. "We created the performance story, and we've got to keep at it."

Beltzner said that Firefox 4 would be "super-duper" fast. Super-duper is not a term to be used lightly, so we're expecting a big improvement on Firefox 3, especially considering how fast Google's Chrome browser is proving to be.

Regarding the increased competition (Chrome's market share continues to rise), Beltzner said that Firefox was prepared to fight all the way. "We are in it to win it," he said. "It's no longer the case where it's all easy wins. There's hard work to be done here. We have to make sure we're the ones leading the charge in keeping the Web open for users."

New features in Firefox 4 includes support for high speed graphics and text using Direct2D, multi-touch compatibility and a revamped user interface.

You can watch the full webcast here, or view Beltzner's slide-show on his blog.

Are you a Firefox fan, a Chrome convert or an Internet Explorer enthusiast? Let us know how you browse using the comments below.

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