We got the news in our Firefox browsers this week that a beta release of the next version of Microsoft's stodgy Internet Explorer is due out September 15th. In Redmond's classic trying-too-hard style, the launch will come at an invitation-only event in San Francisco, according to PC Magazine . The invitation site for the event features some snazzy HTML5 coding action, including an animated word game.
We decided to live dangerously, ignore the seizure warnings and test drive the speed capabilities of the preview using the Psychedelic Browsing demo and can safely report that everything seemed to handle just fine and no one got hurt.
The beta launch announcement also comes just as the browser turns 15 and is still technically on top of the browser world, with more than 60 percent of market share. But IE faces a major challenge from Google's Chrome, which currently has less than ten percent market share, but that could grow as Google adopts the same strategy of OS/browser integration that has helped keep IE on top, buoyed by Windows. Google's Chrome OS is planned to arrive on some netbooks soon with the goal of tearing down the wall between OS and browser in a way that Microsoft has tried with little success.
Short of improved speed and updated standards, there's little information coming out of Redmond about what else to expect in the beta, although it's expected that a more stripped down appearance a la Chrome is likely.
The final release of IE 9 isn't expected before the end of the year.