In May 2012, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer lost its long-reigning position at the top of the browser usage charts to Google Chrome. While no longer the world’s most-used browser, IE is not content to stay in second place for long. With IE 10 this Fall, Microsoft is making bold moves to stay relevant in the fast-moving “browser wars”. Here are 5 big changes in IE 10 that are sure to make an impact:
1. Speed and Performance
2. Web App Focus
Microsoft is betting big on the future of web applications, particularly those using HTML5. IE 10 is incorporating major updates to its HTML5 functionality, allowing video with links to specific times and embedded captions. With these updates, advanced web applications can be optimized for IE 10, allowing for complex browser games and applications, like Office 365, to run smoother than ever. Web developers and designers can take advantage of this improved horsepower with more robust sites.
Announced last month, the Microsoft Surface tablet demonstrated the company’s commitment to mobile browsing. The new hardware, along with Windows 8’s “touch-first” design standard, means IE 10 is built from the ground up around touch screen interaction. With a rapidly growing smartphone and tablet market, Microsoft saw the need for a browser that is truly mobile. Fluid design and a tile-based interface for favorites and tabs are key components of the touch-first standard.
4. Windows 8
Microsoft is tying the fate of IE 10 closely with that of its new Windows 8 operating system also releasing this Fall. Finally shedding its older operating systems, IE 10 will not run on Windows XP or Vista. Even its support for Windows 7 is suspect, as recent preview builds have only been made available for the Windows 8 developer’s preview build. Microsoft is completely changing their model by charging only $40 for their latest OS upgrade.
5. Do Not Track
Perhaps most controversial is Microsoft’s decision to enable their “Do Not Track” setting by default in IE 10. This represents a strong stance in favor of consumer privacy from Microsoft. However, it has certainly angered online advertisers who rely on tracking technology to deliver targeted ads. The effects of this change are still unknown, as some critics believe the do not track setting won’t even help consumers protect their privacy. Regardless of the outcome, Microsoft aims to be on the forefront of evolving web standards.
With these significant upgrades to their browser, Microsoft is making a major push to get back on top of the browser usage charts. But will it pay off? We’ll find out when IE 10 and Windows 8 launch this Fall. For up to date web applications and technology information follow @Unidev on Twitter.