We’re still months away from the official release of Internet Explorer 9 — it’s likely due some time during the first half of 2011 — but Microsoft continues to roll new features and additional web standards support into its next-gen browser.
Microsoft released the first beta of Internet Explorer 9 in September. But this new release is not a second beta, it’s the sixth platform preview. A bit confusing, sure. But beta releases are considered to be almost totally stable and are intended for a more general audience. Platform previews are on the bleeding edge, and may contain code that isn’t as thoroughly tested. So, this release is primarily aimed at developers.
IE9 Beta is doing spectacularly well, however — Microsoft says its beta release has been downloaded ten million times since its release six weeks ago. It has also been receiving kudos for its expanded support of web standards like HTML5, CSS 3 and WOFF.
Here’s a video showing off the new stuff in IE9 platform preview 6:
If you watch the video and read the post on the IE Blog, you’ll notice a lot of emphasis on “full hardware acceleration” in IE9, and how other browsers like Chrome and Firefox can’t perform as well as IE9 because they only offer “partial” hardware acceleration. In fact, all browsers have access to the same Windows APIs that enable off-loading work to the PC’s graphics processor when needed to speed up 2D and 3D animation rendering. This has been an issue of some debate over the past two months, with Microsoft and Mozilla going toe-to-toe over the issue.