March 17, 2012, 7:27 AM — Microsoft says its latest version of Internet Explorer clears out a lot of clutter and creates a more immersive browser experience when paired with Windows 8's touch environment, and that it can be navigated by mouse and keyboard as well, although from the sounds of it not as elegantly.
In the company's most recent Building Windows 8 blog, the company explains the features new in IE 10, which comes with the download of Windows 8 Consumer Preview.
TEST YOURSELF: Windows 8 Quiz
HANDS-ON: Windows 8: No touch, no fun
HANDS-ON: Windows 8 test drive crash
The browser adapts many of the features of Metro style, the term Microsoft uses for the Windows 8 user interface that relies on monochromatic squares and rectangles branded with words rather than icons to move around the system.
The overhaul from IE 9 is major and requires some learning on the part of users, particularly those familiar with the older browser and how to get around.
For example, the new browser has no visible address or task bars, giving the site being visited top-to-bottom, side-to-side real estate that makes for more immersive viewing. Microsoft says this was inspired by versions of browsers used on mobile phones which feature less "chrome" - hiding tools until they are needed.
These commands can be accessed via "charms," which are icons that pop in from the edges when called up with either taps or mouse clicks, depending on whether the device has a touchscreen. The charms include Search, Share, Devices (printer, projector, etc.) and Settings (clear history, etc.).
The browser has its own Start screen similar to the one for the operating system. It includes a set of brightly colored tiles that show popular sites, frequently visited sites and favorites that get filtered out as users type in URLs in the address bar that appears across the bottom of the screen.
Windows 8 also supports pinning favorite sites to the main Windows Start page, so users can click on a tile for a Web site there and the browser will call it up, rather than launching the browser and seeking it via a tile on the IE Start screen.
Tabs are gone. Rather than a string of them across the top of the screen, a mini image of the last 10 tabs used can be drawn from the top or bottom with a finger swipe, typing Windows Key/Z or a mouse click.