Microsoft Unveils First Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview

Just a month after Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 9 at South by Southwest, the Windows giant unveiled its Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview, a sneak peak at some of the new features in store for the next version of the leading web browser.

Only about a month after launching Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft surprised attendees at the MIX 2011 developer conference in Las Vegas with a Platform Preview of Internet Explorer 10. This new version focuses on improvements in HTML 5 and CSS3 feature support. Photo: Microsoft

Microsoft has released the first platform preview for Internet Explorer 10, less than a month after the launch its much-hyped Internet Explorer 9 browser.

The technology giant unveiled IE10 earlier today at its Mix11 developer conference in Las Vegas. The preview, which is now available for download, isn’t a reinvention of the browser (Microsoft’s goal with IE9), but rather a continuation of the work it did in hardware acceleration, HTML5 and CSS3.

“IE10 builds on full hardware acceleration and continues our focus on site-ready Web-standards,” said Dean Hachamovitch, IE’s corporate vice president, in an announcement. “This combination enables developers to deliver the best performance for their customers on Windows while using the same, Web-standard markup across browsers.”

Hachamovitch said that Microsoft is only three weeks into IE10′s development, but it’s already comfortable showing off what it has built so far. On stage at the Mix11 conference, he demonstrated some of its capabilities against Google’s Chrome browser and revealed that IE10 will include additional support for CSS3, including Gradients and the Flexible Box layout. Additional IE10 previews will be rolling out every eight to 12 weeks.

“We built IE9 from the ground up for HTML5 and for Windows to deliver the most native HTML5 experience and the best Web experience on Windows,” Hachamovitch said. “IE10 continues on IE9’s path, directly using what Windows provides and avoiding abstractions, layers and libraries that slow down your site and your experience.”

Naturally, not all agree, such as Firefox chief Mike Belztner who countered the claim. “Mozilla has always believed that the full, modern, open Web should be accessible by as many people as possible, which is why we have continued to invest in cross platform development,” Belztner told PC Magazine. “If a platform is capable of supporting the technology used by tomorrow’s Web pages, then it’s worth our time to support it.”

All in all, it’s now abundantly clear that the successes of Firefox and Chrome have reignited a fire under Microsoft, which famously let its hugely dominant browser stagnate for many years. Now with two major contenders hot on its heals, quicker releases are becoming an industry standard.

Microsoft released IE9 on March 14 after 40 million downloads during its beta. IE9 has been well received: At its peak, IE9 was downloaded 27 times per second. Still, Microsoft knew that it couldn’t rest on its laurels. Mozilla’s Firefox 4 browser was downloaded 5,000 times per minute during its first day of availability, and Google Chrome is already at version 11. [MSDN and Mashable, PC  Mag and Engadget]

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