On Wednesday, July 30th, Microsoft unveiled the next update to Windows Phone 8.1. This update, which is referred to as GDR1 or simply Update, is set to bring several new features to the company's mobile operating system. Among those features, Windows Phone 8.1 Update (GDR1) will have hundreds of Internet Explorer 11 enhancements.
In an attempt to "greatly increase compatibility with the mobile web," Microsoft is working to make Internet Explorer on Windows Phone 8.1 consistent with what is available on the iPhone and Android devices. This means browsing the web on all three devices should be similar and familiar experience.
"Based on your feedback, we pursued a web experience for IE users consistent with what is available on iOS and Android devices – even where this meant we would be adding non-standard web platform features. We believe that this is a more pragmatic approach to running today's less-standardised mobile web," Microsoft explained in an official blog post.
Microsoft is aware of bugs or missing features in Internet Explorer that have become apparent on mobile sites designed specifically for Android or iPhone devices. Microsoft has identified five key areas of improvements:
- Faulty browser detection not recognizing IE as a mobile browser and giving the desktop experience
- Using only old webkit-prefixed features that have been replaced by standards
- Using proprietary webkit-prefixed features for which there is no standard
- Using features that IE does not support with no graceful fall-back
- Running into interoperability bugs and implementation differences in IE
So what happens next? Microsoft has identified the issues and has made these changes to Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 8.1 Update. In fact, this update will "dramatically improve compatibility with the most popular mobile web sites."
You can help too. If you see sites using non-standard code, head over to webcompat.com to record the broken sites. This site is a collaboration between Microsoft and Mozilla, and helps users report problematic sites which often cause issues across multiple browsers including Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Windows Phone 8.1 Update is set to roll out next week as a Developer Preview, similar to how Windows Phone 8.1 was rolled out as a preview. The Update will roll out officially over the coming months. Microsoft will offer a detailed change log for the new Internet Explorer improvements soon, so stay tuned!