Microsoft is preparing to unveil a new browser in Windows 10, codenamed Spartan, and leaked images are providing an early glimpse at the Internet Explorer successor.
Chinese site Cnbeta has published screenshots showing the simple interface of Spartan and the Cortana digital assistant integration. Spartan will include digital inking support to share and annotate web pages, and deep Cortana integration in the address bar and throughout the browser.
The Verge also stated that Spartan, will include a host of new features not found in rival browsers. Chief among the plans for Spartan is new inking support that allows Windows 10 users to annotate a web page with a stylus and send the notes and annotations to a friend or colleague. The web note service will be powered by Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage, meaning notes will be stored on a copy of a web page that can be accessed by any browser across multiple platforms. As annotations are shared, multiple users can doodle on a web page and share edits and annotations between groups.
A second major feature for Spartan will be the integration of Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. Microsoft is planning to use Cortana to surface information on flights, hotel bookings, package tracking, and other data within the traditional address bar. If you use Cortana to track a particular flight and start to search for “American Airlines” in the browser address bar, it will automatically display tracked flights and allow Spartan users to view the status of the flight directly. It’s a subtle addition, but you’ll also be able to access Cortana search directly from the new tab interface in Spartan.
Cortana integration in the Spartan browser is planned to replace every instance of the existing Bing methods in Internet Explorer.
Other features include a new way to group tabs together to declutter the occasionally messy interface of multiple browser tabs. Spartan will allow users to group tabs however they want, making it easier, for example, to split up personal tabs from work ones. Microsoft also originally planned to allow Spartan to support custom themes, but we understand the company has dropped this for the final new browser in Windows 10. Such support may arrive in future updates.
Cnbeta’s screenshots also reveal Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 user interface. Microsoft is also planning to build light and dark themes with colour accents for Windows 10.
The look and feel will be similar to that of the existing user interface for Windows Phone, and these leaked screenshots provide an early look at an internal Microsoft concept and the aim for the final UI. They do not represent the final interface as Microsoft will be tweaking it a number of times over the coming months. Some of these user interface changes have started appearing in recent builds of Windows 10, with the new dark taskbar surfacing in a leaked version last month. Microsoft is also tweaking its built-in apps to match the new color schemes, with a new Xbox app that hints at what the company is planning for the final version of Windows 10.
Microsoft is expected to unveil these user interface changes and a mobile version of Windows 10 for tablets and phones at a press event on January 21st. The software maker will also likely detail its plans for the Spartan browser across PCs, phones, and tablets.
(Story Source: The Verge)