Along with the Windows 8.1 Preview, Microsoft has also introduced Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11) Preview that, according to Microsoft, offers better touch performance, faster page load times and a continuous browsing experience across users’ Windows devices.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 11 Preview is part of the Windows 8.1 Preview release and is optimised for touch-screen devices as it uses the graphics processor of the device to process gestures such as panning, zooming, and swiping. It decodes images through the graphics processor while the CPU is used for processing dynamic page content of a webpage. The browser supports swipe gestures for going forward and back, complete with page prediction and pre-rendering for better visual feedback.
The browser now allows users to open up to 100 tabs at a given time. Microsoft says that it’s using a technology to allow independent tab suspension for efficient use of memory and battery, and faster switching. It will manage content within tabs depending on the usage to achieve this. The browser supports Windows 8.1’s side by side mode allowing users to browse two websites on different instances of the browser on one screen. One can also now run non-legacy Modern apps side by side in snap mode with IE 11.
With Internet Explorer 11, users can also opt to always see tabs and address bar. These UI elements were hidden in the previous version till the user right-clicked or pull down a menu using gestures.
One of the major features of the new browser is support for syncing tabs or windows across multiple devices. Users can sign-in with their SkyDrive user credentials on one device, and resume browsing on another. This feature is already offered by Apple’s Safari browser via iCloud and Google’s Chrome browser through Google account sync.
The browser also allows users to put their Favourites in different folders with custom tile pictures. Live site tiles can also be build, so users can pin a website as a tile on their Start screen that can dynamically pull data and offer updated content.
The update also brings some under the hood changes including support for hardware accelerated 3D web graphics with support for WebGL. It also supports plug-in free HTML5 video and the latest standards for closed captioning, adaptive streaming, wherein the quality of the video is adjusted depending on the available bandwidth, and rights management.