Windows Phone’s latest iteration (codename Mango) is all about keeping it in the hood. We had a chance to sit down with a Windows Phone rep before today’s big reveal, and they let us in on a couple of new features that will most definitely set the OS apart — at least when it comes to navigating the tangled web that is the internet. We did get a quick glimpse at IE9, but the new browser isn’t much of a game changer — it supports HTML5, but still won’t deliver Flash or Silverlight compatibility. The real news here is in the Bing-powered search function, which lets users surf the vast expanses of the web four different ways, with a focus on the local.
Clicking the dedicated search button from the Windows Phone home screen takes you to a familiar Bing page, offering the visual, audio, and voice options we heard rumored earlier this month, along with a city scape icon. That skyline represents Local Scout, a function that focuses your queries on the neighborhood you’re in, providing location-specific results that highlight important information about establishments and events in your immediate area. Clicking through on any link brings up general information as well as reviews gleaned from popular user-generated sites. That’s not all that’s new, however, as Mango also offers some nifty tricks in its visual search. Instead of just snapping a barcode, you can actually use a shot of the product itself to bring up information about pricing, availability, and relevant apps.
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Most sane folks will have greeted the arrival of Internet Explorer 9 with a curious click on a download button or a simple update of the browser they were already using, but that’s not enough for everyone. One chap with a taste for the eccentrically geeky decided to take this opportunity to go through a retrospective of every version of IE, going all the way back to Windows 95′s first iteration, and to run the Acid compatibility tests to see how they stand up to modern standards. IE1, the ancient, CSS-deprived beast that it is, choked immediately and failed to even display its homepage without an error, but things improved steadily from there until the triumph of iteration 9. See all that glorious progress happening in the space of just a few minutes in the video after the break.
Internet Explorer 9 gets WebM support with 'preview' plug-in from Google, internet video gets more friendly
Google has released an early WebM plug-in for Microsoft’s latest and greatest browser, IE9 — stepping in to fill a gap that Microsoft itself refused to fill. You may remember the firm’s decision to not build in support for the new standard natively, but that it was “all in” with HTML5, WebM’s close cousin. Billed as a “technology preview” at this stage of the game, the add-on will enable users to play all WebM video content just like the good Internet overlords intended them to, despite the fact that an additional download is needed. Microsoft said that it would allow for support and it appears to be following up on its word, regardless of other harsher comments made separately. Isn’t it good to see big companies getting along? Now if only these same niceties played out in the mobile landscape, then we’d really be getting somewhere.
Yes, we know it’s PI day, but don’t tell the guys and gals at Microsoft — we hear they’re celebrating something a little different. That’s right, the long-awaited IE9 browser is finally coming out of its beta and RC stage, and will be hitting the global download airways this evening at 9PM PT, which is midnight here on the East Coast. Microsoft tells us the .exe file will be available for you to download at those times right from http://www.beautyoftheweb.com — but should you? Obviously, the RC release has been out for awhile, but we’ve spent the last day or so using the final build and we have to say if you’re a PC user it’s definitely worth a test drive. Hit the break to find out why we think so.
We had a hint that Microsoft would be releasing the final version of Internet Explorer 9 on March 14th, and now the company has finally, officially confirmed it. That launch will coincide with a press event / party at SXSW, and downloads will be available starting at 9PM Pacific time (or midnight Eastern time). Wondering what’s in store? Then you can always check out our review of the beta version, or simply download it yourself, of course — suffice it to say, it’s no Internet Explorer 6.