Posts Tagged ‘windows 8’

5 Bold Moves Microsoft is Making with Internet Explorer 10

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

When it comes to web browsers, speed and compatibility are of utmost importance. With improved HTML5 functionality and a sped up Javascript engine (a new iteration of IE 9’s “Chakra” Jscript engine), IE 10 is Microsoft’s fastest browser yet. Preview releases of IE 10 have already impressed reviewers with Javascript speeds on the Metro version, optimized for Windows 8 on tablets.

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.

Internet Explorer 10 Bubble Test

Internet Explorer 10 flexes its muscles with high performance benchmarks.

3. Touch-first

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.

 

Windows 8: What to Expect

“Reimagined” is the buzzword surrounding Microsoft’s latest update to their operating system, Windows 8. With a brand new user interface and design, Microsoft is displaying Metro-style apps on the PC to create a seamless, integrated experience across tablets, laptops, and traditional desktop PCs.

Main Features

The most reimagined feature in this major update is the touch-based design. Gone is the familiar start menu and taskbar that has been part of the Windows OS since Windows 95. Large tiled app buttons linking to various applications like music, email, social network activity, Microsoft Word, and Internet Explorer replace the traditional Windows layout.

Metro-app start Screen for Windows 8

The design closely follows the Windows Phone app layout.

Microsoft has essentially developed two versions of Windows 8 to facilitate identical experiences on touch screen tablets and desktops. The new operating system will support traditional x86 CPUs found in most PCs in addition to the low-power ARM processors found in most tablets. This could have major implications for mobile application development.

The new “Windows to Go” feature augments even further consistency across multiple devices. Users can create a secure image of Windows 8 and place it on a typical USB flash drive. Users can then boot their own operating system from other Windows 7- and 8-enabled PC’s and laptops. This allows for an easy transfer of important applications and data to other machines. These updates, along with native 3G and 4G support will make mobile workforces more productive than ever.

Will it be worth the upgrade?

At this point, it is impossible to say whether most users will make the jump to the reimagined Windows 8 or not. While the new design is receiving high praise, there are some concerns Microsoft may alienate long-time Windows users by obscuring the traditional start menu interface they are used to (as seen below).

 

 

Additional concerns call to question the likelihood that businesses will adopt the new operating system. Though the secure Windows to Go and mobile productivity additions are appealing to business owners and IT managers looking to expand their mobile workforce, the expense of training employees on the new interface could create a high barrier to entry.

So will Windows 8 be a success for Microsoft? We’ll find out this Fall when it is released commercially. For now, you can try it yourself with the recently released Windows 8 consumer preview. Let us know what you think by sounding off in the comments!

Full disclosure: Unidev is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner.