Microsoft has long been rumored to be working on a new web browser for Windows 10, and if the screenshots which leaked earlier this week are the real thing then it has just become a reality.
Neowin reports that they got their hands on some screenshots of early builds of the Spartan web browser. They have not posted the screenshots, but they did post this mockup:
As you can see, it looks nothing like Internet Explorer, which Spartan is rumored to replace as the standard web browser for Windows 10. But I wouldn't read too much into the mockup; even if it is 100% accurate there is still a chance that the interface could change completely by the time the browser is released into the wild.
But at least some details will remain:
Next to the reading mode is a folder icon and a share icon like we have in Windows 8 that makes it easy to share content to all of your favorite social networks or by email. And a bit further to the right of that are three dots that open up the settings for the browser.
Spartan runs in a borderless window that allows your content to stretch from edge to edge. This means that there is nothing at the bottom of the window to see and all of the new UI elements are at the top of the browser.
It's unclear whether Neowin got to see the browser itself or is simply repeating what they were told, but in either case we still don't know very many of the important details like compatibility, real world performance, etc.
But The Verge reported yesterday that the new web browser will have improved annotation features as well as other radical changes and improvements:
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.
Update: The Chinese gadget blog CNBeta just posted a couple screenshots, including one for Spartan. There was no web page loaded but from what I can see the menu bar and other details look a lot like the mockup posted above.
image by CJS*64