According to a recent communication with Joe Marini, Principal Program Manager for IE on Windows Phone, he has told TechRadar UK that Internet Explorer 9 for Windows Phone is “code complete.”
[IE9 is now] code complete; we are now debugging, we are performance tuning. Graphics performance is a big focus for us right now. That, rendering compatibility, markup compatibility – any rendering issues are really getting looked at closely right now.
With that great news on how far along Microsoft is with IE9 for Windows Phone also comes some great information about it:
- Hardware accelerated browsing (including video, audio, text, canvas, drawing and general rendering) is one of the major improvements in IE9
- In Microsoft’s speed reading demo last year IE9 reached 23 frames per second and now with GPU acceleration present the browser reaches 27 frames per second
- A tile rendering experience is build within IE9: As the user scrolls through a web page that is partially loaded already it will make sure to load the tiles that are being scrolled to first
- IE9 in Mango will have the address bar moved to the bottom of the screen with a dedicated refresh (and we can asssume stop) button to the left of it. Further options can be accessed by tapping the “…” next to the address bar, and the address bar will also be shown in landscape view
- IE9 supports HTML5 audio and video for full-screen playback and background audio, though not yet videos embedded in a page, as well as canvas and SVG; it supports geolocation including GPS, ECMAScript 5 (though not the strict version which will be in IE10), CSS media queries (which automatically show a different page layout on smaller screens), the viewport tag for automatically resizing pages to the screen size, 2D CSS3 transforms, fonts, backgrounds, borders and colors
- Web forms look like the rest of the Metro interface on the phone and HTML5 input types will make filling in forms easier; a page can specify if the form should contain an email address, phone number, date, time or URL and the phone will show a customised keyboard to make it easier to type
- Instead of separate image files, web sites can store images as part of their HTML so they download faster; sites also get up to 5MB of local storage on the phone for caching information so you don’t have to keep downloading it. There’s no way for a site to ask for more than 5MB because that’s not in the spec but unlike other browsers Marini says IE lets a web site check how much space it has left (if it tries to download more than there’s space for the spec just produces an error)
- Although Adobe continues to say it’s working on Flash for WP7, Marini seemed to rule out plug-ins in Mango when he talks about security for mobile browsing. “We don’t do stuff like ActiveX, we don’t have browser helper objects, we don’t have binary plug-ins. A lot of things that were security issues, we simply didn’t do on the phone – a, because we didn’t need them and b, for security.”
- Once Mango is finished, the mobile IE team will carry on working in parallel with desktop IE. “If you play with the preview of IE10 on the desktop you can get a sense of where IE10 on Windows Phone is going to go,” Marini hinted. Other future improvements might include an offline cache for web apps and ways to link between apps and web pages. “We’re looking at how we can make web sites more integrated with the whole phone experience,” says Marini
IE9 is one of the biggest features to ship with the Mango update available later this year on all Windows Phone devices.