IE 11 on Windows Phone 8.1 shown off on video; shows new Reading View and tweaked UI

We’ve seen numerous leaks related to the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update, including images, videos and even the SDK. Many of the new features have already been made public and now we’re getting another small piece of the puzzle. A new video shows off some of the improvements coming to IE with this update.

There isn’t anything massive here, but all the small improvements that Microsoft’s putting into the 8.1 update will make users’ lives on Windows Phone a much more enjoyable experience. IE 11 is no exception and, as we can see from the video below, there are quite a number of tweaks coming.

Among these additions you’ll notice the Stop/Refresh button has been moved to the Address Bar instead of taking up a separate button. You’ll also notice a completely new feature, Reading Mode. Users can tap that to view articles and webpages in a more accessible and distraction free version, so they can focus on reading.

The new view is also accessible from the address bar and users can customize some of the settings such as font size and background color.

The new browser will also save and remember passwords for different websites, and will bring quite a few other features including uploading of files, extended support for HTML5 and WebGL and so on.

Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to launch as a developer preview at BUILD in April and hit general availability sometime this summer. All Windows Phone 8 devices are expected to receive this new version of Microsoft’s OS.

Source: Unleashthephones

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39 Comments

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I put this in some sub-replies, but I think it warrants a top-level comment that I hope many others (including MS people) see:

IE (on Windows Phone, WinRT, Win8) needs some standard gestures... swipe left and right for back/forward, plus a gesture to enable you to easily get to the top or bottom of very long pages... I'm thinking that co-opting "pinch to zoom", to allow you to zoom WAY OUT to see the entire page so-far rendered on one screen (obviously illegible), and then be able to touch the top or bottom to zoom back in to either the top or bottom... or ideally anywhere you touch (quickly navigate to the middle even).

It'd be very intuitive, and VERY powerful, a leg-up on what other mobile browsers and platforms offer.

Semantic Zoom is a powerful feature of WP/Win8/RT, and should be used more where it makes sense to.

Another example: on the WP8 "all apps" screen, you can touch a letter to "zoom out" to just letters, where you can touch another letter to "zoom" directly to apps that start with that letter. I would be nice if pinch worked here to activate semantic zoom, to zoom out to the "just letters" view.

Consistency and intuitiveness should always be considered, and in this case, I think it would be a powerful addition.

I'd like synced bookmarks, a logically ordered and searchable history, forward buttons, the ability to pull down the time (hopefully action centre will do this), more easily accessible favourites too and a fix to sites that seem to randomly jump back to the top of the page frequently while reading.

Overall IE on windows phone is its Achilles heel.

This looks really nice! Love how they added the stop and refresh there. :-)
I hope swipe left/right to go back/forward is there similar to Windows 8.1.

I also love the new transitions! Very subtle change, but they're now even more like those subway signs (like Metro was inspired by) since it's on the move.

For navigating to pages you browsed before, you can tap on the "recent" item in IE menu. The "recent" list does not just list pages appear in "back" but also "forward" page stack. It may not be as convenient as having a dedicated button, though.

Reading all the comments saying add swipes for back/forward makes me hope MS are reading this (or similar posts from earlier) and have added this feature. The sooner WP/RT are one system the better.

Reading view is nice. But how does his suggestions when he is typing show up so soon? Not sure if it then is fixed with IE11 for WP8, but it takes forever on my 920 currently, I constantly use it on IE11 desktop where I type 1-2 letters of a domain and just jam the enter key. But on my 920 I end up typing the full web urls because its faster or the suggestions it gives me are utterly useless.

My 920 just stopped giving suggestions all together one day. Reboot, reformat, clearing cache...you name it, could never get it to work again. Bought a 925 and it is much faster and works "better"

Dot Matrix said,
Why are people saying there's no back button on WP? There is - the hardware button. There's no forward button, however...

The issue is if you back out of IE to the home screen and reopen it the back behavior changes. You don't go back a page in IE you go back to the home screen or a previously opened app. It's such an easy fix it's surprising it hasn't been done yet. A forward button would be a plus to have too. Give me the same functionality regardless of platform (desktop or mobile). Metro IE on Surface does this so should WP IE.

Looks good, I also think they should add the back/forward swipe feature from the Windows 8.1 version. It shouldn't be hard to do, the two versions are very much the same app.

nyolc8 said,
There is. The back button on the phone. But there is no forward... I think that's a bigger problem.

that is broken. It might take you back to the previous page, or it might take you back to the previous application.

For example;

start reading pages in IE
get interrupted by a text message
go to the messaging center to read the message
go back to ie
press the back button -> you go back to messaging center

It's very annoying behaviour

nitins60 said,
I am still looking for very easy way to "back/forward" in WP.

It just sucks


Most people don't back (let alone forward) in desktop now-a-days. On mobiles, it is even less.
Press back button to back is enough.

The swipe back/forward gestures would be great.

But know what is the most painfully missing feature? The ability to instantly jump to the top (or bottom) of very long pages. Like, you know, MOST websites out there (Twitter, facebook, and any other endlessly scrolling page).

Having to flick over and over to painfully get back to the top is just obnoxious.

My preferred method would be to use "Semantic Zoom". Pinch to zoom out right now stops at a certain level. I think if you pinch to zoom out farther, it should zoom out to the entire page so-far rendered, and allow you to touch wherever you want on this "areal view" of the page (which would be long and skinny). It would allow you to instantly jump to the top, the bottom, or anywhere in the middle.

But if they can't do that, then maybe two finger scrolling to scroll MUCH FASTER so you can zoom up to the top or down to the bottom without constant flicking with one finger.

iOS's Safari (and iOS in general) has a standard sort of "touch the status bar to zoom to top" that is used system-wide.

I'd really like a system-wide sort of consistent gesture (that works across Win8/RT tablets as well as WP8 phones). Semantic Zoom seems both intuitive AND consistent (usable across many apps, not just specific to IE), as well as being more powerful than the iOS "solution".

liamog said,
Oh please no, maybe add the swipe navigation from Windows 8, but I really don't need more buttons on the screen.

Yep can't understand why this isn't possible.. would solve the whole "back/forward" issue.

Then what if I want to horizontally scroll. I have seen all other browsers on other platforms have back/forward buttons. This is a necessity

I *definitely* want the forward/backward swipe gestures on Windows Phone. Heck, I want them on Desktop IE too! They're so intuitive that once you use them, it just becomes second nature instantly!

pratnala said,
Fix the back/forward mess first. IE needs dedicated back and forward buttons - not WP's back button

It's rumoured to have swipe back/forward similar to IE 11 on Win8.1

Every browser should have a reader mode. I've tried a couple of Chrome extensions, and they work alright, but not as well as the reader mode built into Safari.

Safari??? What? The same browser with no SSL or TLS encryption??? Hmmmmm. I'd rather use something that bothers to encrypt my data than have a 'reading mode'... xD xD xD

Ilmiont said,
Safari??? What? The same browser with no SSL or TLS encryption??? Hmmmmm. I'd rather use something that bothers to encrypt my data than have a 'reading mode'... xD xD xD

Dafuq are you going on about?

Ilmiont said,
Safari??? What? The same browser with no SSL or TLS encryption??? Hmmmmm. I'd rather use something that bothers to encrypt my data than have a 'reading mode'... xD xD xD
Not a problem with Safari directly, and it's already been fixed.

Bring it on, IE11 is no denying quite improved browser even leaked builds of Windows Spring Update shows massive WebGL fixes in it.