The word on the browser street is that IE10 is going to be a doozy. In terms of it’s support for HTML5 and CSS3 (the stuff that makes modern websites), it promises to finally bring the IE family up to a level with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.  Allegedly. IE9 was a good step in the right direction for Microsoft.  IE10 should be a huge leap.

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But it’s not here yet.  October 26th saw the release of Windows 8, the new Microsoft Operating System that – confusingly – comes in two versions: one for tablets (specifically, Microsoft’s own new tablet – The Surface) and one for the desktop.  IE10 serves them both, but the release of the browser itself has been delayed.

(If you’re into this sort of thing, here’s a 14 page review of Windows 8).

What does IE10 mean for consumers?

Well, it should mean faster browsing, more secure browsing – and a more robust mobile experience.  Despite some quirks with something Microsoft call ‘Snap Mode’, IE10 should provide a more reliable interpretation of media queries (one of the building blocks for responsive web design).

What it might also mean is that people stop using IE8.  IE9 is already 19 months old.  IE8 was released in March 2009.  Three and a half years ago.  Come on people, time to drop it.  IE8 is the last IE browser that really sucked, and with the launch of IE10 I expect a bunch of big web services to announce they’re no longer supporting IE8.  (Google has already done so, and the jQuery team will likely follow).

Still, all that said, IE10 will not be available to the majority of Windows users for some time yet.  Windows 7 holds approximately 53% of the OS market.  XP a little over 25%.  Dropping IE8 altogether is probably premature – unless you’re google and can just do whatever you please – but it’s on the way.  And then we can all breathe a little easier.

Useful Links, if you’re into the techy / web design stuff: