Internet Explorer 11 is out in preview edition with better touch performance, faster page loads, and an integrated browsing experience across all your Windows devices.
The new browser’s touch performance benefits from GPU-enhanced performance for panning, zooming, and swiping that offloads image processing from the CPU to save battery life and improving responsiveness. And Microsoft is taking a page from Apple’s book with sharing of your open tabs, favorites, usernames and passwords, and history from PC to tablet to phone, all via SkyDrive.
Those who love tabs will like the new browser — IE11 supports for up to 100 open tabs at any given time.
That many tabs won’t drain your battery life or kill your processor, however, because Microsoft has implemented “independent tab suspension” to use memory and processor efficiently. In other words, nonactive tabs won’t slow everything else down just because a Flash movie on one of them has a memory leak.
The new browser is fast, too, as Microsoft cheekily demonstrates:
Other new features include:
- Side-by-side browsing
- Integration with Skype for one-click calling
- Touch gestures for navigation
- Live sites can be pinned as tiles in the Windows 8.1 start screen
- Hardware-accelerated 3D web graphics
- Plugin-free HTML5 video
- Live sites can be embedded into Windows apps
The best new feature, however, for those of us who have had the rare privilege of suffering the 80 percent chrome, 20 percent web phenomenon on parents’ PCs after they’ve installed some “helpful” plugins and toolbars, is the fact that the web is a first-class citizen in IE11.
“The most important part of the screen is available for your sites with a single, unified interface with tabs and address bar at the bottom optimized for fast access and touch,” Microsoft says.
To get the new IE11, you’ll need to download the Windows 8.1 preview first, here.