Microsoft's Windows 8 Browser Embraces Metro Aesthetic

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2012-03-14 Print this article Print

Microsoft has detailed how the upcoming Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8 fully embraces the same "Metro" aesthetic as its other new and upcoming products.

Microsoft constructed Internet Explorer 10 €œin lockstep€ with Windows 8, according to a new corporate blog posting.

Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 embraces same €œMetro€ 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 €œBuilding Windows 8€ blog, these gestures include €œstick-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 €œtab 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 €œsnap€ feature, which lets users link two apps together; for example, if one wants to cruise the Web while simultaneously checking email. A set of €œcharms€ 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.

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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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