Microsoft has been losing its share of the browser market to Google Chrome and other browsers that offered faster browsing and more useful features. Browser upgrades from Microsoft between IE6 and IE8 have not been big on features or usability, other than security features and tabbed browsing (nothing new there). I looked at the unveiling of the new IE9 Beta after “The Beauty of the Web” launch at the San Francisco Design Center with interest becoming caffeine fuelled wow. This browser is really neat.
On my Core i5 desktop PC with a fairly standard business graphics card my new IE9 Beta started up in one second or less. Websites loaded in around one third the time they did in IE8. Graphics were sharper, text was more crisp, and videos were rendered beautifully with no sign of latency. The reason behind all this is IE9’s ability to distribute CPU intensive tasking across the PC, and directly utilise the fastest visual processing component in a PC, the graphics adaptor, to render what you see in the browser. You can see more of the graphics rendering (Hardware Acceleration) capability of IE9 at Joshua Davis’s site endlessmural.com. (geeks who were around in the 80’s will recall Praystation).
Visually, there is more room in IE9. Favorites bar, status bar, and command bar ar turned off by default (right click an empty area at the top of the browser to turn them on) but when turned on take up a minimal amount of room. The website you are currently viewing can be pinned to the favorites bar or to the taskbar in Windows 7 by dragging. You can use the tear off tabs and Aerosnap to view websites side-by-side.
The IE9 Beta is still in pre-release code and we found some problems using the latest version of WordPress to write this article. If you’re too curious to wait for a final Beta version you can download the Beta here. I found IE9 to be a 21st century browser that is lean and faster than anything I’ve seen to date. With Windows 8 around the corner making heavy use of sensor technology (including facial recognition logon) I can’t wait for IE10.