Spartan, or Project Spartan, as Microsoft seems to be calling it in pre-release form, is Redmond’s chance to regain its relevance in the web browsing field. Although in many ways similar to Internet Explorer, chiefly in its rendering engine, the new browser is set to close the gap to Google’s Chrome in functionality, simplicity and perceptivity.
Highly intuitive, thanks to deep Cortana integration, and “lightweight,” Spartan will support extensions down the line. This is something we suspected and speculated on since the first time we heard of the “project” and now, it’s official.
What’s still uncertain is the when of the equation, and whether Microsoft is building its own extensions, or working on compatibility from Chrome-dedicated versions. The latter clearly makes more sense, but the Windows 10 architects aren’t ready to share anything specific. Just that they have a “plan for extensions for a future update to Project Spartan.”
Currently, the IE replacement can’t be taken for a preview spin by Windows Insiders, and the mobile port is likely even longer from completion. Speaking of Internet Explorer, it’s etched in stone the infamous browser will be kept around in Windows 10, but only for users with “specific compatibility needs.”
So yeah, it’s pretty much farewell, Internet Explorer. You won’t be missed. Another intriguing tidbit the @IEDevChat Twitter feed just confirmed is the absence of cross-platform support in Spartan. This is “designed to be a great showcase for features of Windows 10,”apparently.
On the other hand, it’s not entirely out of the question that Windows 7 will get a stab at IE’s replacement in the distant future. Right now, Spartan is “targeted at Win10” and “we’re focused on getting people upgraded (free),” but Microsoft is committed to closely “watch Win7 demand.”