Microsoft releases Windows 10 preview with Spartan Web Browser

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hands on: Microsoft’s Project Spartan browser starts small in Windows 10 preview.

Microsoft’s latest browser, Project Spartan, is keeping its promise so far. Microsoft Corporation says it has fulfilled the promise of smartphone ownership for many more people with the introduction of Lumia 430 Dual SIM, the latest addition to its range of Lumia smartphones. On Monday night it became available as the main draw of Build 10049 of Windows 10, which went out to the “Fast” ring of the Windows 10 testers, In our hands-on, it’s definitely lightweight—if only because there isn’t much there yet at this early stage. Spartan offers several improvements over Internet Explorer: lightweight browsing; support for plugins; the ability to mark up a Web page, scrawling comments using digital ink; a new reading mode; and the integration of Cortana, who serves as a personal assistant while browsing.

Technically Cortana is there as well; however, the assistant isn’t really dynamic, and only appears when you right-click a particular term or group of words. You can, of course, change your ring setting and get the new tools more quickly. (Note: This is not the upcoming build that will support a host more Windows Phone handsets. This build is nearly all about Project Spartan.) Project Spartan, the current, public codename of Microsoft’s new browser, will replace its venerable predecessor not all at once, but in steps. Smart Dual SIM allows people to assign unique profiles to their SIM cards, such as work or family, to help them better manage daily communication. “Favourite apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Candy Crush Saga and Instagram are available, with more apps and entertainment just a click away on the Windows Phone Store.” The Corporate Vice President for Phones at Microsoft, Jo Harlow, said, “People around the world have responded enthusiastically to our affordable Lumia range.

By bringing it to the browser, Microsoft makes progress on what appears to be an implicit goal to ensure that Cortana lands on every screen where the company vends a platform. (Xbox, gear up.) Microsoft highlighted pen capabilities, simple reading views, and a rendering engine built for the modern Web as points in the browser’s favor during a call. Although Project Spartan appears in the list of apps after you download and install the new build, you can also identify it in the the toolbar as the little blue globe. That’s hardly a sin for beta software, of course, but it will be a decent data point to stress-test Project Spartan regardless — how far along and stable is this new vision? Build, Microsoft’s developer conference, is next month, meaning that Microsoft might eventually hit pause on new builds to store up new bits and tiddles to show off at the event. Update: Microsoft switched to a newer, shinier build — 10049 — after it had provided TechCrunch with pre-release reference materials that noted the release as build 10047.

On the top row of the browser, separated by a divider, are icons that allows you to set and review ‘reading lists” of articles to be saved later, as well as downloads. You can, however, navigate to an article (like this one) click the little “book” icon in the top right (which is grayed-out when viewing our PCWorld.com homepage, for example) and view the article in reading mode, with ads and other extraneous information vanished. IE11 also generated higher scores in the FutureMark PeaceKeeper benchmark—2523 to 2425—than Spartan; IE11 also scored 8461 in the CanvasMark 2013 benchmark, versus 8204 for Spartan.

Many of you remember the bad old days when earlier versions of Internet Explorer were incompatible with many Web standards, or Firefox leaked memory all over the place. Spartan may not be the fastest browser at present, but its memory use is impressive: with just a single tab open, Google Chrome consumed 72.1 Mbytes, IE11 consumed 83 Mbytes, and Spartan consumed just 16.6 Mbytes. It’s true, however, that Google Chrome consumes gobs of memory because it “sandboxes” each tab, protecting the application as a whole in case one tab crashes.

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