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Windows 8 to feature immersive browsing

Software secrets gleaned from pre-beta builds

'Immersive browsing' and a Microsoft PDF reader called 'Modern Reader' are two key features of Windows 8, according to two Windows experts.

Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott are posting about the secrets of Windows 8 on the Within Windows blog. These "secrets" are from pre-beta builds of Windows 8, which were leaked over the weekend.

See also: Microsoft Windows 8 review

So far, we have seen the welcome screen (with the modern Windows Phone 7-esque text), as well as a toolbar-replacing ribbon (similar to the ribbons in Microsoft Office programs) in Windows Explorer.

Immersive Tablet UI

Rivera and Thurrott have now revealed an "Immersive" version of Internet Explorer ("Immersive" is the name given to Windows' new tablet/phone user interface) that gives us clues to how the actual user interface may work. While everyone is pretty sure that Windows 8's tablet-styled user interface will feature tiles (like Windows Phone 7's interface), Rivera and Thurrott point out that this feature has been "locked-down" and is (so far) "impossible to unlock".

However, they unlocked the Immersive version of Internet Explorer, which operates at 640x480 pixels and cannot be resized. Rivera and Thurrott point out that this may be because the application is intended to run at full screen only.

"It's likely that this application is designed to run full screen only and that the limitations we're currently seeing are because we're running outside of its intended native Immersive environment," they wrote.

Browser history comes in square "tabs" that pick up on the website's colours.

Native PDF Reader

Rivera and Thurrott also revealed a native Microsoft PDF reader called "Modern Reader." The authors point out that this is the first app they've seen that "utilises the new AppX application package type", which is noteworthy because it could be common to both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (which is apparently codenamed "Apollo").

Modern Reader is simple and modern, as you might expect. It displays PDFs in full fidelity (of course), features zoom capabilities, supports side-by-side page viewing, and has a sidebar (a "page scrubber") that you can use to jump ahead in the document. If you do jump ahead, a back button appears in the upper left corner so you can go straight back to where you came from.


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