An introduction to Windows 10 and the Microsoft Edge browser
As Microsoft has officially confirmed the release of Windows 10 for July 29, let’s take a closer look on the new features. We can’t mention them all, but there are several aesthetics and functional changes that are definitely worth watching out for.
The Familiar Desktop
Booting up Windows 10 takes you to the familiar desktop of Microsoft. The taskbar and its icon are sitting at the bottom while the recycle bin sits in the upper left corner. Take notice also of the startup button which will open the revamped Start Menu. Frequently-used apps are stacked up in a column, pressing the All-Apps link will display the endless column of folders that are now grouped alphabetically. The menu also includes the Live Tiles, migrated from Windows 8. It can also be arranged into a separate groups and labeled accordingly. Pressing the maximize button will give you a full screen version of the Start Menu (like it was in Windows 8.1).
Clicking on the Task View button gives you a quick view of all the apps and windows that are currently open. A row of square at the bottom of the screen will display lists of desktop, while clicking the plus sign will create a new one. Each desktop will be treated as an independent workspace and all apps will be opened and remain on that specific desktop only. You can also move things from one desktop to another just by right clicking on it and selecting which desktop you want to use.
This a feature of Windows 10 that transform a 2-in-1 device between tablet and desktop modes.
Changing into tablet mode, any open apps will go full screen, layout will be like of a tablet display and will be on touchscreen mode.
Once a mouse and keyboard is connected, windows will go back into a desktop mode. All application will return into a desktop windows and can be easily accessed using a mouse.
The New Internet Explorer (Project Spartan → Microsoft Edge browser)
Internet Explorer will still continue and be a part of Windows 10 for compatibility reason, but it’s going to be replaced by a new browser called Microsoft Edge (previously codenamed Project Spartan). Edge is going to be the default browser for Windows 10.
The major differences between IE11 and Project Spartan in Windows 10
One new feature for Edge is the ability to annotate. You can draw directly on the webpage, type a notes, clip areas on the page and share it on the social media or save it locally.
The new browser will come with Cortana, a Microsoft’s virtual assistant which is also built into the Windows desktop. It will give hint and drop suggestions into the address bar as you search. You can also “Ask Cortana” by right clicking the highlighted text and the results will be displayed into the side bar.
Here are some of the results that makes Edge a promising browser.
Java Script performance was a top priority for the overall operation of Edge.
Edge browser uses the Chakra JS Engine and Microsoft has been tweaking Chakra to give a boost on Windows 10. This fine-tuning has allowed the Edge browser to outgun not only IE, but also the latest experimental builds of Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, according to benchmarks run by Microsoft.
Chakra in Microsoft Edge is way faster than IE11. Looking closely, Chakra has made the following improvements across these benchmarks in Microsoft Edge:
|Benchmark||Owned by||Improvements in Microsoft Edge over IE11|
|Jet Stream||Apple||More than 1.6 times faster|
|Octane 2.0||More than 2.25 times faster|
Windows 10 on Mobile
“Microsoft’s main push with Windows 10 is the collaboration aspect meaning all Windows devices can interconnect. Universal apps means all the applications will look the same and sync across mobile and desktop devices instantly.”
Windows 10 on mobile is going to share many of the features with that of desktop version, including the same kernel, UI elements, menus, Settings, and even Cortana. It will also support Continuum on some, newer smartphones, allowing a desktop like experience by plugging the phone into an external monitor.
Microsoft has made Windows 10 mobile available for those who like to try and will help on the development of better versions through feedback. Microsoft has been releasing builds and setting proper expectations for would-be users.
Here is the steps on getting Window 10 on your device:
- To load Windows 10 on your mobile device, you’ll first need to check your device against the list of compatible devices. You can find the list here.
- Make sure your device is running Windows Phone 8.1. You can do this by launching Settings and going to About followed by Info.
- Next you’ll need to sign up for the Windows Insider Program if you haven’t already. You can do so on this site.
- Finally, download and install the Windows Insider app from the Windows Phone Store.
Once the app is installed, it will scan the specifics of your device and guide you through the upgrade process.
Windows 10 is the culmination of years of learning at Microsoft covering desktop, tablet and mobile and looks pretty solid. Along with Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia Mobile, this could be the beginning of a new force in mobile computing. We are all particularly looking forward to collaboration between devices.
The Edge browser might finally convert people back to the Microsoft browser camp from Chrome and Firefox.
With Microsoft offering free upgrades to Windows 10, there is likely to be a faster upgrade cycle in the consumer market than we are used to in desktop operating systems. This will translate to a quick uptake of the Edge browser even if for no other reason than checking it out as part of transitioning to Windows 10.
While we have found the Edge browser to work quite nicely, there are always small tweaks that are necessary to preserve your branding or user interface when a new browser is released.
We recommend any business critical websites should be regression tested against Microsoft Edge browser before July 29th to ensure that your site is functional on the multiple devices on which Edge will run
Please contact us on 07-3891 2299 or firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a quote for testing your site or to find out more information about Windows 10.