Users that have signed up for the Windows 10 Technical Preview will now be able to start trying out Project Spartan – the codename for Microsoft’s new browser – on their PCs.
Alongside a few improvements to the Start experience and virtual desktops, Project Spartan is the major new feature in Microsoft’s latest Windows 10 build (10049).
The browser, which is set to replace Internet Explorer, was first unveiled back in January.
Headline features include integration with Cortana, new pen and note taking capabilities, and a faster more reliable rendering engine – and now users can start testing them, with the caveat that they are still in an “early, incomplete state.”
According to Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group, Project Spartan is fast, compatible and built for the modern web. At the moment, the browser is just available to test on PCs but it will eventually be available across all Windows 10 devices.
“In this preview, you will see a bold new design for Project Spartan – one that is streamlined and puts the focus on the page, not the browser,” said Belfiore. “This is part of our vision for a browser that doesn’t visually interfere with your life on the Web, but supports it.”
As part of this, Microsoft is promoting the role that the personal assistant Cortana can play in making web browsing easier.
“She remains in the background but provides additional information when you need it, making browsing easier and more efficient,” said Belfiore.
At the moment, Cortana will just be available in the US, but Microsoft has promised that broader availability is coming soon. The company has also said it will be adding more features and making many improvements to Project Spartan before it’s made generally available later this year. So while this latest preview is by no means the final version, it certainly gives a good indication of where Microsoft is heading with its browser vision.
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