Microsoft officially announced it would replace Internet Explorer, which has been the main browser of Windows for nearly twenty years. Project Spartan introduces deep integration with Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant and OneDrive syncing framework, support for stylii including the ability to create and share custom annotations on Web pages, and a user-friendly reader mode that eliminates distractions such as animations on Web pages.
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While Cortana will only be available in the US for this build, it will roll out globally by the final release. "Web Notes" can be shared via social networks or stored in a user's OneNote workbook.
Project Spartan also features a brand new page rendering engine called Edge, and its interface has been built from the ground up. Not all features are fully implemented in the first preview. Microsoft warns that the current incarnation of Project Spartan is not final, but is soliciting real-world user feedback.
Microsoft has not yet announced what its new browser's final name will be. The company has indicated that while Internet Explorer will not be a very visible part of Windows 10, it is also not going away entirely. Businesses that require backwards compatibility, especially those that have resisted upgrading from older versions of Windows, will be able to use IE on Windows 10 for the forseeable future.
Windows 10 is expected to be released late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of 2015. The new operating system will be available as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8 users. It is largely seen as an attempt by Microsoft to tone down the radical departure it made in Windows 8 a new touch-friendly tiled interface that alienated desktop and laptop users.