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Internet Explorer 9 Beta pre-build  (Source: Microsoft Russia)
Microsoft Russia really let the cat out of the bag this time

With its browser market share at a decade-low, Microsoft has a tall task awaiting it with the release of Internet Explorer 9.  The good news is that Microsoft appears to be rising to the occasion.  It's currently four developer previews in, and our early testing indicates that it's in a dead heat speedwise with Mozilla's Firefox 4 betas (thanks to its new Javascript engine "Chakra").

In a month where Apple looks to release new iPods and potentially other products, Microsoft's Internet Explorer event on September 15 will likely go largely overlooked.  But that event should prove a critical step for the company, as it is anticipated to formerly unveil the first beta of IE 9.

What no one knew -- until now – was what that beta would look like.  Mary-Jo Foley of 
ZDNet was cleverly poking around on Microsoft's foreign webpages and came across screenshots of what may be the new IE 9 beta, accidentally leaked by Microsoft Russia.

If this is indeed the look of the beta, Microsoft is going for an even more aggressively minimalist look than Mozilla's Firefox 4.  The URL bar, forward/backward buttons, and tabs have all been merged into a single row (this occupies two rows in Firefox 4) and multiple page elements have "been consolidated into one" (according to the translated Russian text corresponding to the image).

"Favorites", "Suggested Sites", and "Get More Add-ons" – features found in IE 8 -- have all been presumably moved to subtler locations.  All this reorganization is geared at providing "more room for the (Web) site itself", according to Microsoft.

Like Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, Microsoft appears to finally be preparing a "tear-off tabs" feature.  For those who haven't experienced this feature, it allows the user to drag a tab out of the window to create a separate browser window.  While Microsoft may be late to this game, it intends to have perhaps the most stylish implementation yet, integrating the tear-off features with Windows 7's popular Aero Snap functionality to allow you to snap tabs to portions of the screen.

Microsoft Russia indicates the transition will look seamless, thanks to the onboard Direct2D GPU rendering.  The page roughly translates to, "Simply drag the page in different screen and will appear next to each other.  Reproduction of content sites and video are not violated."

Another new feature is the ability to turn "recognized," or "protected," sites into pinned taskbar icons.  This gives one-click access to websites not available currently in Windows 7 from Microsoft's browser rivals.

Between these new features, the slick new look, the speed increase, and the new support for advance web standards (HTML5, CSS3, and SVG2), IE 9 could well stop Microsoft's slide in the browser market and get it back on track.  The browser is expected to air in 2011 for Windows Vista and Windows 7.  The bad news?  Microsoft has said it will not support Windows XP, an OS still used by approximately 60 percent of the market.

When asked for comment on the screenshots and features leak, a Microsoft spokesperson coyly remarked, "Microsoft is encouraged by the early enthusiasm around Internet Explorer 9; we have nothing further to share about Internet Explorer 9 at this time."

The image has since been pulled and replaced with a less glamorous screenshot of what appears to be Internet Explorer 8 parked on a IE 9 teaser webpage.

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By StevoLincolnite on 8/26/2010 7:27:13 AM , Rating: -1
Hmm, Is there a larger version of that image? If your going to show the "Look" of something, a larger image that is easy to see on my 2560x1600 resolution monitor would be a good start.

RE: .
By wushuktl on 8/26/2010 8:23:16 AM , Rating: 4
Wow your monitor is so big, I am so impressed. It says that the image was never meant to be displayed to the public so i think it's safe to say that they were not worrying about 'showing the look' of it nor did they think/care about how big your monitor is

RE: .
By StevoLincolnite on 8/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: .
By Drag0nFire on 8/26/2010 1:16:11 PM , Rating: 1
Wow your monitor is so big, I am so impressed.

I think he's trying to compensate for something else... =D

RE: .
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/26/2010 8:23:33 AM , Rating: 3

Hmm, Is there a larger version of that image? If your going to show the "Look" of something, a larger image that is easy to see on my 2560x1600 resolution monitor would be a good start.

Sounds like a nice monitor. :)

The image is at the full resolution that ZDNet posted it at. Remember, though, to view an image in detail, just click it , it will open @ full size. In the article its automatically scaled to a set width due to our style sheet.

The full size image isn't a /whole/ lot bigger I admit, but you should be able to see things a *bit* better.

RE: .
By Spivonious on 8/26/2010 9:25:56 AM , Rating: 2
Either your monitor is huge (about 31" by my calculations), or you should be running at a higher dpi. Trust me. I have my 17" CRT set to 1600x1200 and 130dpi. Everything is so clear, and I can actually see a big difference between fonts that I used to think were almost the same.

RE: .
By StevoLincolnite on 8/26/10, Rating: 0
RE: .
By Spivonious on 8/26/2010 11:23:23 AM , Rating: 2
Okay, then you're pretty much where you should be. Standard DPI is 96, your screen would technically be about 100.

Carry on. :)

RE: .
By theapparition on 8/26/2010 12:21:29 PM , Rating: 1
17" CRT

Are you serious. Last time I used a 17" CRT was in 1995.

RE: .
By Spivonious on 8/26/2010 1:34:34 PM , Rating: 3
I have yet to see an LCD that's under $1000 that has as good image quality. Desk space is not a problem for me, so until I can get an LCD that is under $300 that would match or exceed the image quality I get, I'm sticking with my CRT.

RE: .
By acer905 on 8/26/2010 6:30:23 PM , Rating: 2
I would also have to say that the 28" flat screen CRT television that I use most has twice the image clarity of my friends LCD's or Plasmas, without the need to spend extra money for "HD." CRT's only have one downside, and that is their bulk. IF you can deal with that, why get something else?

RE: .
By just4U on 8/26/2010 8:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
you must have been well off. I don't recall getting a 17" CRT till around 1999. Our first LCD tho gah ... a 17" Samsung in 2002 which set us back a good $1200.

It's still working still though my nephew has it!

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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