New report claims Windows 10's new 'Spartan' browser will include inking support

There's been a bunch of reports and alleged screenshots recently about "Spartan", the code name for the rumored new web browser that Microsoft may be developing for Windows 10. Today, another new report claims to have even more information about Spartan's features, including word that it may have inking support.

The Verge, citing unnamed sources, states that Spartan will allow users to write notes on a web page via a stylus and then save those notes via OneDrive so they can be seen and shared by others. Those folks can even write their own notes on the page, according to the report. Spartan will also allow users to group tabs in any form, but a planned feature to offer custom themes has reportedly been cancelled, at least for now.

The story also claims that Spartan will incorporate Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant. It states:

"Microsoft is planning to use Cortana to surface information on flights, hotel bookings, package tracking, and other data within the traditional address bar. If you use Cortana to track a particular flight and start to search for "American Airlines" in the browser address bar, it will automatically display tracked flights and allow Spartan users to view the status of the flight directly."

The Verge says that Spartan will be released via the Windows Store, but it won't be a universal app, claiming that Microsoft will release a version for Windows 10 desktop users and a separate version for tablets and smartphones. However, both will have the exact features. The story also agrees with an earlier rumor from ZDNet that a version of Internet Explorer will still ship with Windows 10 for the desktop to help with backwards compatiblity for older websites.

Rumor 8

Once again, we have to point out that Microsoft has yet to officially confirm or deny anything about Spartan. We should learn more on Jan. 21 about the company's plans for the browser, and Windows 10, as part of Microsoft's major press event that will be held in its headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

Source: The Verge

John Callaham
131 Comments
  • now i'll have another browser i can use, IE and Spartan,.......Spartanie
  • And for windows 10 for phones..?
  • They said it would be released on phones too.
  • smartanie
  • Mobilie
  • No I think Microsoft is gonna have a tie-up with either FireFox or Google for Chrome..
  • Perhaps they're hoping that "signing" documents online will become a business necessity that will bolster Spartan before Safari and Chrome implementation it.
  • I agree, I don't care whose fault it is, I just want to get my page viewed correctly. If Microsoft has to have compatibility layer in place then so be it. I have been to a few sites that just don't work with IE11, though I think it is getting better. Hopefully Spartan will be an agile app that has continuous updates like Firefox. I think Spartan will become the home user browser and IE the business browser.. Time will tell.
  • Sounds about right. That's awesome in my opinion. Rather than keep updating IE for the mobile web that everyone is already preferring for whatever reason, just make s btw one and have IE as the legacy browser. Smart. People don't seem to mind multiple browsers as it is.
  • Are you talking about IE on phone or desktop? Anyone page doesn't display properly can be added to Compatibility View in Tools-> Compatibility Settings. IE11 has been improved since WP8.1 http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2014/07/31/the-mobile-web-should-just-work-for-everyone.aspx
  • I I think mobile, no compatibility settings in mobile.
  • Read the article.. .
  • it will be the same OS, remember?
  • Maybe its ie with other name :v hope it universal browser so need to add #css for ie or #css for spartan :v
  • The Spartan will come with Cortana.
  • Cortana is a Spartan!!!
  • What????
  • I think Microsoft is silently moving search name Bing to Cortana for marketing purposes. Because Cortana is now one of cool name like Xbox was before.
  • Because we used to call " Google it , Google that!" Now we call do the same thing like " ask Cortana!" to search internet..
  • THIS! IS! SPARTAAAAAAAN!!!
  • NO! this is PATRICK!
  • I hope this gets more popular than Chrome and Firefox.
  • IE already is, so I don't see why Spartan shouldn't.
  • Nik, that claim isn't exactly true. Weekday numbers of IE users drop significantly during weekend numbers due to people being allowed to use their browser of choice. Many buisnesses force older versions of IE on their employees because they work with it. Once those businesses upgrade their software, I doubt they will stay on IE. Also, IE numbers have been in decline overall for the past couple years.
  • Nope. IE has actually gone up from 57% to 60% over the past few years. Try again.
  • Actually, no other internet browser has seen such a decline as IE, in the past few years.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers
  • One of the reason for decline was the European court ruling that made Microsoft not install the IE browser as standard...Blody EU need to stop meddling.
  • That is actually fair..Isn't it..? Now other browsers stand a chance of an even competition with IE which was getting a upper-hand being pre-installed..!!
  • Hows that fair apple products come with safari pre installed and you could always install a different browser on windows if you did like ie. It's just another attempt probably by some apple loving politicians to help out apple at Microsoft's expense and as a result they also helped out chrome and Firefox as well.
  • ​That's kind of inevitible considering that IE used to own some 95% of the browser market world-wide: There could only be declining market share for IE and growth for all the other browsers.
  • That depends on which metric you are using to track browser data. Counting only unique hits? Mobile hits? Which websites are being track? Look into this.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers Not all results show a positive increase.
    http://gs.statcounter.com/#desktop-browser-ww-monthly-200807-201412
  • Pretty much says it all
  • I don't know what are you guys smoking on Windows Central that you think IE is popular :D funny how there is huge amout of IE parody pics, gifs, 9gag..etc of how it sucks compared to others. And I don't know anyone who would use IE plus Bing at all and when I do, its work pcs, yet there's no reason to use it, cos others browsers does the same thing. Everyone around uses Firefox and Chrome or Opera. Firefox and now Waterfox mostly leads. Down vote I dont care but you guys are in denial XD. Modern IE is another story if you have a touch device. EDIT: Even WC writters uses Chrome  
  • Exactly. I'm the only teen in ALL of my classes to use IE. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Me too
  • I've pretty much exclusively used IE since 9.0 (and also Bing).  For what its worth, I do not smoke crack or any other mind altering narcotic.  Its actually pretty good now--give it a shot.  Have a nice day.
  • Give Firefox a shot and have a speedier web-browsing..
  • And if you have a 64bit you can use Waterfox :D that's the best for me.
  • You commenting from the WP App @Slovenix..??
  • WP app and Waterfox browser :P
  • Commenting wrongly bro
  • No FireFox. Give Palemoon  with Ablock Edge a try. It don't eat as much ram as FireFox. /Hell IE with Adblock is the lightest I tried
  • IE9 through IE11 already have ablock built in. You just need to enable them. Easylist works very well. http://www.iegallery.com/en-us/trackingprotectionlists
  • Firefox is bad at blocking malwares https://www.nsslabs.com/sites/default/files/public-report/files/Browser20Comparative20-20Engineered%20Malware.pdf
  • I'm into Microsoft, don't worry I tried it many times, even Bing, also said its good now, yet Firefox does it better or Chrome in speed.
  • +1030 Same Thoughts
  • As you have obviously polled EVERYBODY IN THE ENTIRE WORLD we concede to your undeniable wisdom....
  • Of course. No, I mean Everybody around me, and most of the people over the web. It's a fact. I'm probably the only one around here that wishes that IE became better. So I wish for Spartan. It sounds cool, hope that it will bring attention.
  • IE11 on its own has the highest market share of all desktop browsers (netmarketshare.com). Don't be fooled by other sites that track unique hits, as these are over inflated by Chrome's prefetching and other sneaky practises they use to appear higher in the list of results.
  • Unless it supports extensions like firefox and chrome do, I doubt it. Most people don't want to browse the internet without their usual privacy/convenience extensions enabled. edit: Now that I think about it, it is very similar to the apps issue.
  • "Most people" please.... Most people have no idea what browser they're using...
  • Yousef speaks the truth.
  • Yousef, have you ever worked in a school or gone on a college campus? The first complaint when a video doesn't load or there is a problem with a webpage is that the person accidently opened in IE instead of Firefox. Even when the browser was not the problem (i.e. wifi issues). Maybe you spend a lot of time with older people who are unaware that another choice exists, but the vast majority of people I interact with believe IE to be the worst browser available. This includes third graders and college students.
  • I find IE 11 to be fast, and secure.  If you are having issues with video it's your internet.  I do computer support and most viruses are coing in via Chrome extensions.
  • Not disagreeing with you but you also realize that students are still a fraction of the people who browse the internet. Ask a kid what browser he's using and he'll give you the same one his friends are on. Ask him why it's better aside from specific extensions and I doubt he can tell you other than the alternative is old/lame. You and Yousef are both correct because you both deal with different groups of people.
  • +1030 Agreed
  • They do have..Many copy their folks in using Chrome or others..!!
  • Spartan supports extensions
  • I do care very much about my privacy but have not even a single one addon/extension for doing so. Don't get fooled by marketing talk from companies offering them...
  • Didn't they already say it is going to support extensions? If they just give me ad block ill be happy
  • you can already use ad block.... https://adblockplus.org/en/internet-explorer
  • I hope it will be good. Then I will consider Waterfox or Spartan :D
  • I'm waiting for 21st January.
  • Can't wait :)
  • I'll just stay with chrome until they add themes
  • Are themes that important to you for a internet browser? Lol
  • Its a valid point, why not ?
  • Spartan will have extensions/themes
  • Maybe it's just me, but IE can't even scroll through the windows central webpage without lagging, probably because it takes forever to load. I have adblock on too. As much as I want to use it, it pisses me off everytime.
  • I can't say that it's *just* you, but I have no problems with the WC site or, really, any other site that I regularly use.  Back in the day of IE 6 and 7 that wasn't the case to be sure!
  • I am using ie on 8.1, no problem at all. My laptop is old (core 2 duo) and if i use chrome it heats up too much.
  • Chromeand Firefox load Ads much faster...... Not really a good thing... Try turning on tracking protection in IE 11 in tools/Manage add-ons/Tracking Protection and a few lists.
  • No problem here either.
  • Would be a nice quick feature for Web Design edit notes.
  • Hurray ... Let's laugh!! xD
  • The *entire* OS needs inking support. Something like the stuff lenovo showed off but as a core capability. I don't understand why I can't just select a text box and start writing. I remember WriteAnywhere and that was close--but didn't feel good enough at the time then was removed. It needs to make a triumphant return! What good is the pen if I can't use it for anything but a glorified mouse outside of a few specialty applications?
  • Spartan isn't going to have that feature, inking means writing on WebPages.
  • Yes I understand that. That was my entire point. Also inking has been the often used term for simply having the digital pen, nothing specific about Spartan. Having pervasive ink support would be much more welcome to me than simply being able to draw on a web page, which seems quite a niche use case versus the former.
  • The future is in the Universal Apps but the own MS Browser app won't be one?? I think the story will repeat again...
  • It is universal, it just separated into two apps for ui purpose, but the apps will be 98% the same. 
  • Wonder if that means extensions are supported in mobile also, or at least tracking protection.
  • Oh... Nice and sad point.
  • They should definitely keep the Spartan name.
  • Spartan goes together with Cortana nicely.  :-)
  • Chrome Vs Spartan ... Battle begins..
  • And sparta wins.. (;
  • What was the point of this comment? Literally just to show you will fanboy a product not even released yet with no evidence to back up your opinion?
  • If John can talk about rumoured browser, i too have the right to make more rumours about rumoured browser. :p
  • Haha XD
  • I hope Spartan to have an aggressive modern UI, making browsing the web more fun and different. So far the leaks are very meh, I will use it either way but man, something different please
  • +1
  • Spartan, already getting bloated. ;)
  • Did MS quietly buy Lenovo?
  • Wonderful. I hope it also means that we will have native support(OS level) for e inks(stylus, digital pens) in all SKUs of Windows 10(including PCs, Convertables, Tablets, Phones, IoT). May we finally have digital pen touting Surface, Surface Mini and Lumia 1530(phablet)!
  • Also, I hope it does a better job of rendering websites than current internet explorer. Personally, I'd want MS to stop being arrogant and start supporting webkit since it is where most of the mobile web(IOS, Android) is at.
  • Eh, I'd rather the current crop of web designers followed the standards versus building for specific browsers. There's arrogance here but it's not really on Microsoft's part since they actually follow the established web standards set forth by the W3C.
  • Maybe when webkit starts adhering to agreed web standards...
  • We can hope but since no one understands or acknowledges that IE got such a bad rep for exactly what Webkit is doing, they'll keep asking MS to emulate it.
  • And why does only MS has to take a stand on principles? They can do so through IE which has a respectable share in desktop market. But it is a blunder in mobile web which is full of non standard sites optimized for webkit. Since, Spartan is mostly intended for mobile use, it could have benefitted from it. But no. It will be as painful to use as current IE on Windows Phone 8.1.1
  • I don't think you understand how web development works.
  • Like Ladydias said, you don't know how Web Development works... and also, Spartan intended for mobile? have you even read about Spartan? have you seen the screenshots? do you think that looks like a mobile browser? No. Also the plans it's to give IE for just compatiblity reasons but Spartan will be the supported and developed for now. only becuase it will be a Store app, it doesn't mean it will be less than IE. so again, you should reread everything and research everything, because you really don't know much about it. and also, IE on windows phone it's fine, you think no? well, too bad for you. I hope you don't gey killed or something for the "painful" IE on WP. maybe you should get a cream or medicine for that ^____________^
  • Dude, when I said mobile I meant that it will be as resource intensive as mobile meaning it will be light and intended to use on mobile devices like phones and tablets. And yes obviously I don't know how web development works, what I do know is that web sites don't render properly on IE on WP. Nor does the same sites render properly on alternatives in windows phone store because of the apparent restrictions imposed by MS to force developers to use trident engine(or that's what I've read in forums). So good luck trying to defend Microsoft. You clearly don't know how criticism or feedback works from an average users point of view.
  • Cool. I'm not all that worried about this. It will be what it is when its here.
  • What happened to one app for all Windows 10 devices?
  • 21st of Jan. Microsoft Revelations. All will be revealed. B-)
  • I hope inking support will be all over Windows 10 for all applicable devices.
  • Exactly!
  • Microsoft must not launch two browsers with Windows 10, it will be pathetic when Theverge says Microsoft can't launch a universal app but expect developers to? WINDOWS TENSION! Microsoft must find a way around this. : Edit I hope this is not true bcos it will be sad for Microsoft to sacrifice their pride and Windows 10s future bcos of old websites can't they upgrade? As long as I care old websites should go the way of XP .
  • So what's with all the IE haters, are you all firefox and chrome plants? No ones forcing you to use this, Windows allows you to choose whatever browser you want so no need to whine.
  • WC wakeup call: Universal apps are 'store' apps running all devices, Not desktop apps! A desktop app is not universal by definition as it runs under Classic ' Windows desktop terms. So if (eg Skype, spotify) releases a universal app and a desktop app, the universal app is still universal, the Verge disappointed here
  • Lol, most advanced users will have IE 11 as well as Chrome or Firefox since the rendering of websites is most often hindered by the web developer, not the browser. It is VERY easy to make sure your web pages are compatable with most browsers yet so many developers fail to do so. Chrome, Firefox and IE 11 all run across about the same number of incompatable websites. If it doesn't work on one, load it on the other. You can also make IE 11 every bit as safe as Chrome or Firefox as you don't need extensions to stop tracking, those security options are built in.
  • I knew a web dev that would actively insult IE users on page load with an ugly popup bar that basically told them they needed to get a "real browser" simply because they decided to not be bothered "supporting" IE (read: Boo hoo, I can't use nonstandard experimental CSS)
  • He obviously wasn't trying to attract users. =)
  • And I'd just send him a very tersely worded email saying how he is a IE hater because of what the browser used to be or he is a blind webkit fanboy. You wanna be an insulting web developer, expect to take heat off advanced users that use IE primarily. (Before anyone says I'm not an advanced user because I use IE, please note that I've done application development for Windows Phone and am currently developing a desktop program as part of a team)
  • Hoping best out of Spartan but Firefox for life.
  • Oh god why the f#$k does anyone care about what browser someone else uses??? Ffs worry about yourself
  • Hopefully they give you an option to install Spartan or IE when you get Windows 10; this duality between desktop/metro apps (i.e. Photos/Windows Photo Viewer) has got to stop. I won't say Windows is bloated, but there's no point in having all this extra stuff installed on it.
  • Ah I'm gonna have to name my next PC John 117 so Cortana will be a plugin for Spartan ;)
  • Welcome Spartan to Our World!
  • My bet is that Spartan = IE 12 metro version, while IE 12 is just the classic desktop application with the same name for familiarity's sake
  • Does anyone reads ZDNet anymore?
  • I am excited about this.
  • lets c how spartan will be till now IE 11 and Firefox.
  • ow, nice! I really want to believe this rumor. It's mouthwatering when combined with the hidden gem found by Daniel on the any write technology Lenovo tablets wil have on their yoga line. It would be only logical and a missed opportunity if both technologies were not implemented into the IE browser and whole OS for that matter. I've been waiting for this come back of inking for years now. With the more powerful hardware inking and ink to text recognition is better than ever and even for every language. Microsoft needs to get rid of the old ink pad, it's to constraining and an unnatural experience in the UI workflow of things.  
  • I thought all apps for Windows 10 were to be Universal. For all the rhetoric, I'd expect that. Nope. "Just wait till Windows 11," they'll say.
  • It makes more sense to save them to one note, and not one drive.
  • I can't be any more excited about the upcoming Jan 21st event!
  • Hoping this will be on phones, and you know what else would be cool on Windows 10 phones? The ability to write with pens like the surface
  • Wow what about Windows phone
  • Mobile...
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