Barely a month after striking the mint on Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft has prepared a demo of their next-generation browser IE10—and they’re inviting you to download and try it out. “Explore a more beautiful web,” says the teaser banner atop the site, beckoning visitors to the download button. The new browser from Microsoft appears to be a dodge and a weave in comparison to IE9 in an attempt to head off the browser market dominance of Google Chrome’s streamlined and agile web product.
Big on its list of capabilities is HTML5 by extending support and reportedly deepening hardware acceleration. Support for the new HTML standard in their browsers comes alongside the unveiling of Microsoft’s new Bing alongside the release of IE9 last month. This seems to be the logical-end of the software mega-giant’s tactic of setting Silverlight by the wayside and embracing the new web standard—possibly a smart move on their part as HTML5 grows into mobile and overtakes the web.
IE10 also adds a number of new wacky HTML features such as support for CSS3 features like 3D transforms, grid layouts, multi-columns, flexible boxing, and color gradients. The test-drive site contains a series of demos that make use of these additional technologies. You won’t need IE10 to take advantage of most of them as the underlying code is already implemented in browsers such as Google Chrome; but Microsoft does want to show off that they expect to render them just as smoothly and just as fast.
After all, Chrome has been marketing itself on sheer speed. Internet Explorer will have to show that they’re not still pulling their pants on while Chrome is running out the door.
Also big in IE10’s preview site is further indications of the video format war. IE10 will maintain support (and hopefully acceleration for) H.264 in both HTML5 and Flash formats and adds WebM (another HTML5 format.)
To support the angle that Microsoft is putting Google Chrome in their reticle, Digital Trends wrote about some of the corporation’s speed benchmarks for IE10 using HTML5,
During all HTML5 tests, Chrome majorly failed to keep up with Microsoft’s browser. However, it should be noted that these are benchmark tests created by Microsoft. Browser makers love to come up with their own benchmark tests and when they do, their browser almost always outperforms the competition.
Microsoft had some harsh words for Google’s development approach as well. The company criticized the search giant’s decision to issue small updates every week or two and defended the idea of releasing substantial platform updates every 8-12 weeks, claiming it was much better for developers and gives them time and a much clearer idea of what its browser is capable of. It also gives them time to explore new features and give feedback to Microsoft.
In line with the criticism that Microsoft had for Google Chrome, we probably cannot expect that IE10 will move out from under the veil of a preview product into actual beta until their next developer conference in September.
Meanwhile, we’ll see how this will do as a marketing gimmick for Microsoft and how Google reacts to the criticism and oddly premature emergence of a competing product.