Browser Roundup #3: IE hits 9, Chrome OS on iPad & Opera beefs up ads

The browser wars are heating up quickly, and this edition of Browser Roundup brings you Internet Explorer 9 hitting the public, Chrome OS on iPads, progress on Firefox 4 and Opera inserting its own ads to webpages.

Internet Explorer 9

IE9 was released to the general public in beta form on the 16th September 2010, with much fanfare as well as a much needed overhaul and face lift. Internet Explorer 9 boasts a brand new, metro inspired interface, jump lists, better performance than ever before, a download manager (finally), tab tearing and quick launching, and additional tweaks and improvements.

Microsoft has been saying that well over 2 million people have downloaded the beta since release, but despite this, the browsers overall market share dropped below 50% for the first time in history -- which is a shock -- considering that in 2008, IE still held 67% of market share. Firefox is currently the nearest contender on a comfortable 35%.

Google Chrome

This one was a bit of a shock, Hexxeh, a student who builds Google Chrome OS for the masses has released a video showing that he's gotten Chrome OS running on an iPad. You may be in disbelief, and claim that this is a remote desktop type trick. It looks like the real deal, judge for yourself below;

Other than Chrome OS, the standalone desktop browser is moving along at it's rapid new six week development life cycle pace, with Google claiming the upcoming Chrome 7 will have a 60x speed boost, to hit back at Microsoft after the IE9 launch. The new version of Google Chrome also offers built-in "Google Instant" technology, with instant search from the address bar, as seen below.

Firefox 4

Mozilla's latest version of it's flagship browser, Firefox 4.0 is making slow but steady progress towards the final build, due sometime next year. Last month, Firefox hit Beta 6, which was intended to be the last Beta milestone before "code freeze," but Mozilla announced that Beta 7 will be released sometime this month, as Beta 6 was rushed out to respond to some stability and performance issues.

Also, Mozilla announced today that Bing will be an "out of the box" search engine in the new browser, which will also offer a revamped search engine experience upon release.


In a surprising move, Opera announced this week that they will be embedding their own ads into webpages on the mobile version of their browser, Opera Mini. According to Opera, there will be "ads where you normally see ads" and that apparently, Opera Mobile's 66 million user base say that the tool lacks advertisement. There's no word on when the company expects this feature to be included in it's mobile browser yet.

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Yet again - there is a difference between Opera Mini and Opera Mobile. Opera Mobile is mobile browser.

The Chromepad looks like a fake. Notice the video is only 30 seconds long, and there is no scrolling. Seems like someone has played a little with Adobe Premiere with the hope to fascinate the world.

FMH said,
Which is the current fastest browser? IE9 or Chrome?

I'd say Chrome. IE9 still feels a little sluggish for me but that's just my opinion.

FMH said,
Which loads a page fastest? Example .

Page load times are similar on all modern browsers, the difference is negligible. It's interaction that matters these days and each browser has it's strengths in different areas. FF4 and Chrome are going to be the main contenders for 2011 IMO. IE9 is a good improvement over IE8 but FF4 has support for all the same hardware acceleration that IE9 has plus more for the platforms (including XP) that IE9 doesn't support. I'm not sure exactly what API's Chrome is going to use for acceleration but with their fast release cycles they'll probably have D3D9, D3D10, D2D, DirectWrite, and OpenGL all supported quickly even if the next release only supports some of them.

If you think FF4 is slow because of all the bad tests that pit FFb6 against IE9 then you really ought to try the latest nightly which has the new javascript engine (still not complete but much faster) which FFb6 doesn't have. It also has D3D10 support now which can be enabled in about:config by setting layers.use-d3d10 to true and restarting which should make all of the IE9 graphics demos equally as fast as they are in IE9.

FF4's javascript engine speed progress is shown at:

Are there going to be toolbars in IE 9? If yes then its still ****. Fist thing to do on the computer is to remove all the toolbars. JAVA stop bundling toolbars too... updates twice a week it seems... jeez

Owen Williams said,

Just installed Photoshop at work... will do

Nothing like a almost $700 program just to resize a picture