Microsoft's IE 10 for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8: What's different

Microsoft's IE 10 for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8: What's different

Summary: Microsoft is syncing delivery of its mobile IE and PC Internet Explorer browsers. There's a lot the two have in common. But some things are still different.


Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) team is finally at the point where it is releasing new versions of its browser on Windows and Windows Phone roughly in tandem.


Given Windows Phone 8 now runs on a Windows NT kernel, are the two IE10 browsers (mobile and PC) identical, feature-wise? The answer is not 100 percent, according to a November 8 "Developing for Windows Phone" blog post.

IE10 for Windows Phone does not support the following, the post says:

  • Inline video
  • Some of the new manipulation views APIs (application programming interfaces) for touch panning and zooming, with the exception of –ms-touch-action
  • Multi-track HTML5 audio (simultaneous)
  • ActiveX and VBScript
  • Drag-and-drop APIs
  • File access APIs with the exception of blobs which are supported on Windows Phone 8
  • Windows 8 integration features: Link previews, pinned site icons & notifications and support for connecting sites to apps
  • Also in Internet Explorer 10 for Windows Phone, does not return a valid window object. This is because on the phone each “window” is isolated in its own sandbox.

Up until last week, when Microsoft finally rolled out the public version of the Windows 8 software development kit, Microsoft officials were advising Windows Phone developers to use IE10 to do early testing of their sites for compatibility. With the SDK, developers now can use the included emulator to test their sites directly on Windows Phone 8.

One of Microsoft's messages at its Build developer conference last week was that "HTML5 is coming to Windows Phone in a BIG way," as the blog post's author Program Manager Jorge Peraza concluded.

But the reality is a little more complicated, as Shawn Wildermuth, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, author of a number of development and Windows Phone books noted in a recent blog post of his own.

"The big benefit of Windows Phone 8's ability to create HTML5/JS application isn't in the's in the operating system: IE10. IE10 is a much more complete browser and includes support for key features that made mobile apps and site difficult including Strict Mode and Touch APIs. With that rectified, HTML5 applications on the platform are indeed easier to build and better than before, but they are not Windows 8 JavaScript applications running on the phone."

Wildermuth said the inclusion of a built-in template for HTML5 phone application implies developers can now write Windows 8-style JavaScript applications, but that this isn't true. More code can be shared between Windows Phone 8 HTML5 apps and WIndows 8 JavaScript apps, but user-interface code cannot, Wildermuth emphasized.

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Smartphones, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Drag/Drop

    Yeah, I've noticed on Surface recently when trying to change my Yahoo Fantasy Football line-up, which requires drag/drop, that when I start to drag, the IE window pans. Works fine on iPad/Safari. Good to see they are up front about it; let's get it fixed, though. I would not attempt this on my phone, but on the tablet, this should work.
  • drag/drop

    It says drag and drop doesn't work on the phone, but it should work on the surface, IF the site implements it correctly. You can go to the IE10 test drive site and there is a demo called browser surface which allows you to drag and drop photos, rotate them, resize them....all with touch. Makes me believe that the yahoo site probably is using a non-standard shim to support Safari's proprietary touch calls.
    • Verfied on Surface.

      So I tried the drag and drop on the Surface RT and it worked for me. Here is the test site:
    • Only one problem

      If it works on Android, as well as iOS, then it's IE that needs a shim to support its non-standard calls. Also being Microsoft has a deal with Yahoo, I find it unlikely that Yahoo is doing anything funny to support The better alternatives. Yahoo has not even updated Yahoo Messenger since 12/3/05. Meaning almost 8 years of stagnation, at Microsoft's request. Those are facts, deal with it.
      Troll Hunter J
  • Well

    This means IE 10 on WP8 is inline with IE10 on the Windows Style IE10 (not the desktop mode on the Windows RT Tablets or Windows 8 Systems).

    I also hate to not having drag and drop after using it all these years. I wonder why Microsoft really never implemented it with Windows RT. But, having said that, I think Microsoft will release a patch to this for both Windows RT and Windows Phone 8 in near future like they did Copy and Paste for Windows Phone 7 with their NoDo release.
    Ram U
  • Microsoft Fragmentation Strikes Again

    Don't forget there's a separate Windows RT version, plus FOUR more Windows 8 versions (TIFKAM versus Desktop, 32-bit versus 64-bit). And they cannot share bookmarks or other settings, even when running on the same machine.

    What a complete mess.
    • There's only two versions of IE 10

      I don't get where you're getting your figures at, likely from your arse.

      Only idiots count 32-bit and 64-bit as "two different versions".
      Michael Alan Goff
      • Technically he's right

        Just like Adobe having 32 and 64 bit versions of Photoshop. If it's not the same, it's a different version. It may only be a minor difference, but it a different version. That said it is kind of petty to brig it up.
        Troll Hunter J
    • No mess, and you know it.

      No fragmentation either.

      We all know that when referring to OS fragmentation it’s a term that was coined to describe the phenomenon of various devices that are supposed to be running on the same OS yet for whatever reason the update to a newer OS becomes unavailable to particular devices.

      Fragmentation when spoken of in negative terms like this cannot possibly mean an OS offered in different versions purposely to meet various hardware requirements or to offer choice of OS due to differing needs such as 32 bit vs. 64 bit. Nor is OS fragmentation as a phrase used to discuss various instances of the very same OS that have not been all “patched” to the same degree…just in case anyone wonders. Just because Apple has OSX and iOS for example is not a decent example of OS fragmentation.

      Just because of the fact that there are many versions of Linux available that too is not a good example of OS fragmentation. These are clearly examples of choice availability, and for Apple OS differentiation by way of hardware.

      There is no mess. The simple fact you claim there is makes it bluntly obvious you’re a hater and are very likely to only continue to spew nonsense as opposed to actually write about real genuine existing issues as opposed to phantom concerns that are pulled out as negative looking red herrings designed to spread FUD.
  • Actually Who gives a rats A$$!

    I'm not downgrading( yes I said downgrading ) to Windows 8, therefore unless they have a forced downgrade to IE 10 for Windows 7, I WILL not have IE 10 on my puter!!!!!!!!!!!!