The first beta version of the next major upgrade to the Firefox browser ships next week, the Mozilla Foundation announced on Tuesday.

Firefox 1.5 Beta 1 will be available next Thursday, according to a posting in the developer news section of the Mozilla Foundation site. A second beta is scheduled for October 5.

Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 1 is scheduled for October 28 release, but news about new features remains scarce, however, the post reveals the following:

A software update system to streamline product upgrades;
Faster browser navigation;
The ability to reorder browser tabs through drag-and-drop operations;
Improved pop-up blocking; and
Better Mac OS X support.