Thursday, June 27, 2013


Microsoft unwilling to "kill one" of its Internet Explorer twins

What's the point of having two versions of Internet Explorer 11 within Windows 8.1?

It’s a good question, and one that Microsoft executives say they haven’t completely solved. Dean Hachamovich, the corporate vice president in charge of Internet Explorer, said that the browser—which appears on both the desktop and Start screen, but in different forms—is bifurcated to satisfy two different sets of users.

“One IE engine does all this wicked-fast, cool stuff,” Hachamovich said Wednesday during Microsoft’s Build 2013 conference in San Francisco. “Why two? Some people live in the desktop for some activities, and we want to make sure when you’re in Windows you have good experiences,” he said.

“Why two? Some people live in the desktop for some activities, and we want to make sure when you’re in Windows you have good experiences."

Hachamovih said that IE11, the version of IE that ships with Windows 8.1, differs from both competing browsers and earlier IE versions in several key ways.

From a hardware-acceleration standpoint, IE11 is wicked fast because it can shift various workloads, including the JPEG rendering pipeline, to a PC’s graphics card.

This reduces the load on a PC's CPU, allowing that chip to process other tasks. Microsoft presented SunSpider benchmarks to support its claim.

The new browser version is also more flexible in how it surfaces web content.

Within Windows 7, IE9 bookmarks could be pinned to the taskbar. Within Windows 8, IE10 bookmarks could be pinned to the Start screen.

But within IE11, those bookmarks can be pinned to Start and serve as live tiles or widgets, dynamically updating information, Hachamovich said.

Then there's a new, efficient approach to tabbing. Microsoft said 100 tabs can be used by IE11 at once, all without putting an undue strain on battery life. This is because IEthe new browser shifts resources away from older, unused tabs, yet it can bring back these tabs almost instantly. IE11 can also increase performance by prefetching an undisclosed number of links and pre-rendering—essentially preloading—two more links, before the user even clicks on them.
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