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Windows 10 Spartan web browser outed in another leak

Microsoft is working on a new web browser, internally codenamed Spartan, to replace the ageing Internet Explorer.

ZDNet first reported the new browser, and The Verge has found more information on what is coming.

One of the new features coming to Spartan is the virtual assistant Cortana, currently only available on Windows Phone 8.1. The assistant will be available inside the web browser, and also on the Windows 10 task-bar.

Users will be able to find information on flights, packages and hotels, allowing the user to track potential flights and scout an area for the cheapest flights. Microsoft wants to make Cortana an optimal service, but it currently lags behind Siri and Google Now in terms of information.

Cortana will also replace all mentions of Bing in Spartan, potentially hinting that Bing will be knocked off by Microsoft in the next few years. The search engine is currently in second place, but sits far behind Google's search engine at 12.5 per cent, to Google's 75 per cent share.

Windows 10 will also support annotation on the web browser, allowing users to draw with a stylus and share the annotations with friends and colleagues through OneDrive. Annotations can also be stored on OneDrive, and shared onto other photo sharing services.

It is unclear if Spartan will use normal web standards like WebKit, or if Microsoft will continue to use Internet Explorer's rendering engine. Earlier reports from ZDNet claimed Microsoft were using the same engine, which may annoy some web developers.

Spartan will feature tabs depending on home or work, but custom themes will reportedly not be available in the Windows 10 launch edition.

Microsoft will bring Spartan to PC, mobile and tablet, making it a fully fledged web browser on all platforms. Android and iOS look to be priority on Microsoft's list, to make the web browser cross-platform on mobile, something Internet Explorer has never achieved.

More information will be coming at Microsoft's press event on 21 January.