Microsoft previews upcoming Internet Explorer 9, Windows Phone 7 Series
Microsoft revealed plans for the next version of its Internet Explorer browser yesterday, but it's way too early to put a reminder to upgrade on your calendar.
The future Internet Explorer 9, announced at a conference for developers in Las Vegas, will bring advances in performance and compatibility with Web standards, in particular those allowing sites to provide audio and video without requiring users to install a separate plug-in such as Adobe's Flash. IE 9 will also take advantage of Windows graphics technologies to improve its display of pictures and text, at the apparent price of Windows XP support.
In a technically oriented blog post, IE product manager Dean Hachamovitch offers more detail about Microsoft's goals for IE 9. Adventurous users can also try out a "test drive" version of the browser -- but this release is so limited that it doesn't even count as pre-alpha. Microsoft's frequently-asked-questions file doesn't say when a beta version of IE 9 will ship, much less a finished product.
That poses a problem for the company, because the current Internet Explorer 8 just isn't doing the job. It trails competitors in its features, simplicity, reliability and speed. I cringe every time I launch IE 8, because I know I'm going to be waiting that much longer for it to start responding to my input than Mozilla Firefox would. (As one result, the only reason I launch IE 8 these days is to run a brain-dead Oracle expense-reporting application that doesn't work in Firefox.)
As a result, IE has been steadily losing market share to the likes of Firefox and, to a lesser extent, Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari and Opera's self-titled browser.
At the same conference, Microsoft also revealed more details about the rewritten mobile software, Windows Phone 7 Series, that it announced last month. And would-be WinPhone7 users may not be happy about these revelations
The software, due on smartphones by this holiday season, will not let you cut, copy and paste text, Engadget's Chris Ziegler posted. PC Magazine's Sascha Segan, meanwhile, reported that Win Phone 7 won't support running multiple third-party programs at once (although some will be able to provide limited services such as music playback in the background), augmenting a phone's storage with a removable memory card or installing new applications from anywhere but Microsoft's own Windows Marketplace.
In other words, Win Phone 7 looks set to match the feature set of the 2008-era iPhone. Which may be an issue in 2010, now that the iPhone offers an excellent, touch-driven implementation of copy and paste and Android devices also support multitasking, memory cards and running applications from unofficial channels -- and both Apple's smartphone and Google's software will likely see further improvements before Win Phone 7 ships.
How would you describe your interest in these upcoming Microsoft releases? What would the company have to do to raise that? Let me know in the comments ...
March 17, 2010; 11:16 AM ET
Categories: Mobile , The Web , Windows
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