Unimpressed as we may have been when Microsoft released a final build of Internet Explorer 8 a year ago, the company hasn’t stopped toiling away on the most popular browser in the world. And it’s ready to show off what its software engineers have been hard at work on over the past year. On Tuesday, Microsoft allowed developers to peek through blinds into its R&D labs with the release of Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview.
Unlike a true beta test, the platform preview does not include all elements of a final browser – only the rendering engine, that critical component which turns a string of raw HTML and code into the familiar, graphic-laced pages you see before your eyes. The stripped down test build only allows users to plug in Web addresses and access developer tools.
What’s new this time around? The new rendering engine actually leverages a computer’s GPU to do the grunt work, unlike typical browsers, which still use the CPU. In theory, this approach should take the load off the CPU and make the browser even faster.
Microsoft offers the Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview for free to the public via its “Test Drive” site, which also includes demos of the new features within.