Microsoft are back with the 9th version of Internet Explorer, IE 9, which brings some important changes in this new version (HTML5, 2D acceleration etc), but still there is no specific release date, and moreover, this new browser is compatible only with Vista and Windows 7 for the time being, so bad luck for us XP users (although I prefer FireFox to IE 😈 ) but there may eventually be one for XP according to Microsoft, but with some features omitted or not fully supported.
Thus Vista and Win7 users can test it on their own PC using the pre-release version, but we too in a way can do so from our browsers (Firefox or IE or others) using this link: IE9.
The first new feature is HTML 5, which is the next generation of the HTML language, and which will make IE 9 browsers behave more like apps. HTML 5 will in a way kill Flash as it also involved h.264 video support, and sites like Youtube are already experimenting with the h.264 format, thus IE 9 will have no trouble to play videos on these sites. It will also allow support for MP3 and AAC codecs thus audio files can be embedded straight in a page, without additional plugins. There will also be support for CSS3, unlike the standard compatibility in older versions which was really maddening for web developers. It will also allow support for Scalable Vector Graphics.
The third new feature is 2D Acceleration, which adds DirectX video acceleration for the Scalable Vector Graphics, as well as for video, CSS3 and text rendering.
Some more features may eventually find their way in the final release.