Microsoft has followed in Apple’s footsteps and distanced itself from Flash, putting its energies into HTML5 in Windows 8. The Windows 8 Metro IE10 browser – accessed through the touch-friendly interface – is designed to be plugin free, the Windows engineering team suggests, relying mostly on HTML5. “Providing compatibility with legacy plug-in technologies” the team argues, “would detract from, rather than improve, the consumer experience of browsing in the Metro style UI.”
One of those “legacy” technologies is Flash, which Microsoft’s engineers reckon is the most common plugin encountered in the most popular sites. “Many of the 62% of these sites that currently use Adobe Flash already fall back to HTML5 video in the absence of plug-in support” they suggest.
Those still wanting access to Flash and other plugins will be able to switch to the regular, desktop version of IE10, however. That – which will also support pen and touch input – will play nicely with ActiveX controls and the like. If you’d prefer to stick within Metro but still get the full IE10 experience, a “Use Desktop View” option will be available on a site-by-site basis.
It seems even Adobe are trying to look beyond Flash these days, with the company demonstrating its Edge HTML5 app earlier this year as a potential alternative to the existing technology. You can see the Metro IE10 browser demonstrated in our hands-on with Windows 8 on tablets below.
Windows 8 Tablet hands-on: