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September 15, 2010

Internet Explorer 9 beta now out

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by Darren Allan

The beta version of the next incarnation of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser has been released.

Internet Explorer 9 is substantially different from IE8 in terms of aesthetics, performance, support for web standards and of course those all important security issues.

IE9 increases performance via hardware acceleration, in other words, it uses the brute power of your graphics card to help render the likes of High Definition video on sites more smoothly.

Work under the bonnet to make the JavaScript engine more efficient means that Microsoft claims Internet Explorer 9 can make the web run like a native application on your machine.

HTML5 and CSS3 support is a big part of the new package, too, along with support for a number of other emerging web standards such as Scalable Vector Graphics.

The browser interface has also been revamped, with the address and search boxes combined into one, streamlined menu options, and a slimline frame to give websites more display space. Some might suggest IE9 has not just been polished, but “Chrome-ified”.

IE9 also features integration with Windows 7, so you can drag a page’s tab down and pin it to the Windows 7 taskbar, enabling you to launch the site like an application.

Overall, it looks like this ninth version could finally stop the browser rot for Microsoft, which has seen its IE market share drop from around 65% to a 60% share over the past year.

However, the full release client of Internet Explorer 9 is still some time off – Microsoft isn’t currently saying when it’s likely to be fine-tuned and ready to officially launch.

Story link: Internet Explorer 9 beta now out

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