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Microsoft's 'Spartan' browser that will replace Internet Explorer - Still no WebRTC

April 6, 2015 | Telepresence Options


BY MICHAEL MUCHMORE Microsoft first announced its new Spartan browser at a Windows 10 event earlier this year, with promises of greater speed, lighter resource usage, and a couple of nifty features like a reading mode and drawing on webpages. With Project Spartan, a very early pre-release version (v.0.1, actually) Microsoft is finally giving up on its Internet Explorer browser brand. The last few versions of IE made impressive strides in speed, new standards compatibility, and trim interface design. But the despised software just couldn't shake off the rep earned by its proprietary predecessors, especially the problematic IE6. Nonetheless, Internet Explorer is still the most widely used desktop Web browser, according to new U.S. government numbers.

Let's also not forget that the modern Web, with all its application-like capabilities, owes its existence to IE's pioneering of technologies such as Dynamic HTML and Ajax. And the browser was also the only one with a really effective privacy tool--Tracking Protection. But that's all in the past now. With Project Spartan, Web developers working on new services (such as Twitter's Periscope) will feel even less inclined to make sure their Web apps work in Internet Explorer.

Starting Up
To get Spartan (which is currently only available in Windows 10 for desktops), you'll need to register as a Windows Insider with the Fast updates setting, and update Windows 10 to build number 10049. This will occur automatically if you've turned on automatic updates. Keep in mind that if you can wait, you may be better off using the more-stable Slow update track, since the fast track breaks some features; in this case, for example, you can't run Hyper-V virtual machines. I installed the new OS version on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 $1,147.50 at Amazon and a nice big all-in-one PC, the 27-inch Lenovo Horizon 2e $776.12 at Amazon.

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