Microsoft’s Windows 8 Browser Embraces Metro Aesthetic
Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 embraces same “Metro” design aesthetic that increasingly defines Microsoft’s products from Windows 8 to the revamped Xbox dashboard. It has been optimized for both touch and keyboard-and-mouse input. In doing so, the latest browser dovetails with Microsoft’s longtime drive to make Internet Explorer’s controls and frame fade into the background, bringing Web content front and center.
With regard to touch, the browser incorporates many of the gestures familiar to anyone who’s ever surfed the Web on a mobile device—essential, considering how Microsoft plans for Windows 8 to appear on tablets and convertible form factors in addition to traditional PCs. According to a March 13 posting on the“Building Windows 8” blog, these gestures include “stick-to-your-finger responsiveness of the touch support for panning and zooming, swiping back and forward for page navigation, and double tapping to zoom in and out of content.”
Browser features include navigation tiles (with frequently visited Websites, alongside ones the user has pinned to the Windows 8 Start screen), a Metro-style “tab switcher” that accompanies open tabs with thumbnail images, and a navigation bar with auto-complete and other features.
Microsoft has also built the browser to take advantage of the Windows “snap” feature, which lets users link two apps together; for example, if one wants to cruise the Web while simultaneously checking email. A set of “charms” along the right-side rail offers access to the default search engine, the ability to share links and Web info, and so on.
Security measures include XSS filtering, application reputation, InPrivate browsing, tracking protection, and hang detection and recovery.
Microsoft is ramping up Windows 8 for its final release sometime in late 2012. The upcoming operating system features a Start screen of colorful, touch-friendly tiles linked to applications, the better to operate on tablets. While its hardware partners’ manufacturing plans remain largely unclear, rumors this week suggested that Nokia plans on launching a Windows 8 tablet sometime in the fourth quarter of the year, complete with a 10-inch screen and Qualcomm dual-core chipset.
In the quest for tablet-market supremacy, Windows 8 tablets will face not only Apple’s iPad—currently the dominant device in the space—but a legion of Google Android devices.