Thanks to a Russian site, some patience, and Bing translator, we’re getting yet another round of Spartan browser information. Russian blog site MSWin, has some detailed screen shots of an upcoming build of the new browser. We’re still not exactly certain whether or not these screen shots are representative of the Spartan browser confirmed by the Windows team to be included in the next build of Windows 10 Technical Preview, but we can sure hope.
The blog starts off showing the new tab functionality of Spartan. It looks like users will now get suggested options as they look to open up a new tab. This was present in IE before but it was dedicated to an entire screen which arguably didn’t make good use of it’s ‘Spartan’ interface.
Next up is an example of Spartan’s adaptive design. It looks like there will be a limit to the how far the browser can be vertically manipulated; very similar to the way Modern Apps operate in the current build of Windows 10 Technical Preview.
We’ve been seeing a lot of what the browser looks like on phones and desktop, but very little is mentioned about how this browser will scale for those on tablets or two-in-ones. The screen shot below shows how the UI adjust from desktop to tablet modes, removing the header and outlines.
Perhaps we can chalk this up to early development but it looks like the browser will only offer a minimal set of user actions from the start.
Other features are also missing in this preview. Right now users will not be able to create InPrivate tabs, restore previously closed tabs or add to the favorites menu through tabs. Again, we’re not sure which version this is, and we suspect these features will come fast and furiously as the browser will now be treated like an app rather than an attached piece of the OS. It does however look like users can still utilize navigation keyboard shortcuts that are present in previous versions of IE.
From interface and navigation to settings and features
It looks like this section is just a bare as the UI. The browser does however offer, 5 basic browser settings: enable/disable the favorites menu, click to identify phone numbers on pages (similar to the way Skype highlights actionable numbers), changes to the address of the homepage and finally users can customize the read mode appearance.
Users now get a glimpse of the integrated Reading List options built into the browser. It’s noted on the Russian blog site that some of the features have not been activated yet or function properly at this point.
Lastly, the blog highlights the much anticipated Cortana integration. Sadly the blog was unable to fully utilize the feature as Cortana hasn’t made here way to Russia just yet. So we’ll have to reserve judgment on this (or you can decide for yourself by watching our exclusive hands-on with this feature). It does look like sprinkles of her assistance did make it to testing. In the image below, users can quickly use her search capabilities inline while they wok within the browser.
The blog goes on to note some of the frustrating issues that are present in the leaked build. Items like confusion in Windows 10 Technical Preview of default IE usage. When moving to tablet mode, the OS consistently brings a pop up asking to switch rather than seamlessly adjusting the current UI of Spartan. It also does not replace Modern UI usage with Spartan in tablet mode without effort. Another noted issue is the lack of communication between Modern IE and Spartan. Saved links, favorites, and general settings are not communicated through browsers, so users should be prepared to start a new session with Spartan, at least as far as this leaked version is concerned.
Finally those looking to test the Chrome-like extension will have to wait a bit longer as leaked documentation is informing that the this implementation will only occur after the final version of Windows 10 and Spartan are released. Microsoft is also said to not to be supporting ActiveX in Spartan in any form, and we suppose that functionality will still remain in ‘classic’ IE for compatibility reasons.