Windows 10 Spartan Web Browser Details: Sources Describe Simplified Program With New, Advanced Features Such As Annotations

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Jan 08, 2015 06:44 PM EST

We heard recently of Microsoft's upcoming Spartan web browser, which is reported to be shipping with Windows 10 instead of a new version of Internet Explorer. New information says Spartan will not only be an upgrade on Microsoft's aged IE, but competitors Chrome and Firefox.

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Sources familiar with Microsoft's plans have told The Verge of an advanced annotation feature, which allows users to annotate web pages using a stylus and send them to other users. Groups can share edits and scribblings as they're completed--just imagine the productivity potential!

Another feature will reportedly be the inclusion of Microsoft's virtual assistant, Cortana, which made its debut on Windows Phone last year. If so, the browser's codename makes even more sense--the Cortana name is taken from the Xbox franchise Halo, which features futuristic super soldiers known as Spartans. According to The Verge, Cortana would be used for package tracking, finding hotels and flights, and performing other tasks through the address bar. Typing the name of an airline in the bar, for example, would automatically display any flights you tracked with Cortana.

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Spartan will also include advanced tab management, allowing users to group or split up tabs in whatever way they choose. If you need to de-clutter work tabs from personal tabs, for example, Spartan allows you to do so by grouping them together.

As we reported when word of Spartan first surfaced, Microsoft is likely keeping the current version of Internet Explorer in Windows 10 as a backwards-compatible alternative. Spartan would be the new, iteratively improved web browser moving forward, and would be available across multiple device types.

The Verge now says Spartan would be kept as a Windows Store app, making it even easier for Microsoft to update. The idea is to have a lightweight, effective browser that looks the same across all devices. The sources say it looks like a simplified version of Chrome, and that Spartan is still a codename at this time--it could even revert back to using the Internet Explorer brand. Details will likely be revealed at Microsoft's Windows 10 event on January 21.

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