Microsoft has revealed what's in store for Edge in the upcoming Windows Creators Update, expected to be released in April.
The updated browser will be the culmination of features Microsoft has been testing with Windows Insiders in recent months, including new tools to manage multiple tabs, Windows Store e-books, easier online payments, early 3D support, and more APIs for extension developers. Microsoft has also scheduled a stable release of WebRTC 1.0 with more codec support for the Creators update.
As Insiders saw in a January update, Microsoft has built tools to help heavy tab users improve productivity, while reducing distractions and clutter.
Microsoft confirmed on Tuesday that Edge will feature the new dropdown Tab preview, which contains a scrollable row of thumbnail images of all pages within opened tabs. Users can also set that group of active tabs aside to get a clean slate for new tasks and then restore them when needed. The visual tabs and quick management tools are aimed at users who tend to have dozens of tabs open and should help them hop between tasks easier.
With Microsoft's 3D Paint reboot and VR headlining the Creators Update, Microsoft is "embracing 3D" for Edge too in order to support a growing number of sites with VR content. Microsoft highlights it is supporting the Mozilla-created WebVR API, which helps web apps display VR content and allows people using VR headsets to view VR content from the web.
Microsoft is also improving the experience of reading e-books on Edge in the Creators Update. Users will have access to custom font sizes, layouts, themes navigation control, and Cortana integration. Microsoft launched e-book sales from the Windows Store last month, however it's currently limited to US-based Windows Insiders.
The Edge update will also feature Microsoft's new Payment Request API, supporting the Microsoft Wallet on Windows 10. The feature stores users payment and shipping details in the Wallet to offer speedier checkout when buying goods from participating websites.
Microsoft only enabled extensions in the Edge Anniversary Update, and it's looking to make it more attractive to developers by opening over 30 percent more APIs in Edge in the Creators Update. These include access to favorites, roaming data between PCs, and talking to other installed applications. Several new extensions in the Windows Store recently include Ebates, Intel TrueKey, Read & Write, Ghostery, and RoboForm.
The other new feature that will arrive in Edge for the Creators Update is support for WebRTC (real time communications) 1.0, and RTC support for the H.264/AVC and VP8 video codecs. This will allow real-time video communications between different browsers without the need for plugins. Microsoft rolled this out last week in the Insiders preview build 15019 and it will be a stable release by the time the Creators Update arrives, likely around April.