We already have an early look at Microsoft’s next web browser codenamed “Spartan” and we also have a lot of new information about features and future plans for the browser. Today, cnBeta, a Chinese website that often times has reliable Microsoft information, has published a screenshot that includes an early version of Spartan and a new dark theme Microsoft is building for Windows 10.
While the legitimacy of the image is questionable, everything we have seen this far suggests the image is accurate, as it matches early screenshots and mockup published by Neowin early this week. However, the images we’ve seen only showed partially the new web browser and today’s screenshot from cnBeta shows Spartan fully running on Windows 10.
Also there a few things to consider, according to the screenshot, this image was taken back in July 2014, there is not a visible Microsoft watermark on the desktop identifying the build. We’re likely in front of a concept image, but it reflects to what Microsoft is planning for the future of Windows.
In the screenshot, we can see that the browser indeed shares familiarities with Google Chrome and Firefox. Icons are thin and flat, we can clearly see the Charms button in top-right side of the screen, next to the three dots menu button, and at the right side of what it seems a bookmark button.
Furthermore, what you will also notice right away is that the screenshot shows off a new Taskbar design that Microsoft is building for Windows 10. The screenshot shows a desktop with a dark theme and a taskbar with Cortana on the left side, and new flat and modern white outlines icons for the TaskView, Folders, Spartan, Mail, and Music app, instead of solid images we are used in Windows 8.1.
The screenshot revealing the update taskbar, shows that the Spartan app is open by displaying a blue background behind the Internet Explorer logo. It’s interesting to see the IE logo with Spartan, because it is unclear, if Microsoft will continue to use the Internet Explorer brand.
The System Tray is also introducing an updated look and the icons are white, outlined shapes and not solid shapes like in Windows 8.1.
While Spartan still under development, we already know many of the features the web browser might include, as an early report this week revealed that it will include support for Cortana, to help users with voice search and tasks like flight and package tracker and to replace the Bing implementation in Internet Explorer 11.
The web browser will also support digital inking, which will allow users to annotate web pages and share them with other people via OneDrive. Other features may include a new way to group tabs to provide better manageability of personal and work tabs.
According to the same report, Spartan will be a Windows Store app available for desktop with a look inspired from Chrome and Firefox and a modern version for tablets and phones, which initially might not be an universal app.