Microsoft promised to release more frequent builds of Windows 10 and here they are just squeezing a build another build into March. Build 10049 is available for users on the Fast Ring and the big change it the inclusion of Microsoft’s new browser code named Spartan which could be a make or break feature of Windows 10 as the browser is the key feature of an OS.

Project Spartan is an all new browser with a new rendering engine and UI that Microsoft say “easy sharing, reading, discovery and getting things done online”. This release isn’t feature complete but it has some of the feature that Microsoft talked about back in January. There is a brand new rendering engine, Cortana for US users, inking directly on the web page and sharing of notes and pages. There is a new reading view which presents the web page in a clear reading style view which works really well in tablet mode.

Cortana is built-in and ready to assist: Cortana in Project Spartan is a personal assistant that helps make Web browsing easier for you, with whatever you’re trying to get done. Cortana offers help at just the right moment, based on what she knows about the Web, about you and what you might be trying to do. She remains in the background but provides additional information when you need it, making browsing easier and more efficient. Cortana in Spartan will be available in the US versions of this build, and available more broadly later.

Inking and sharing so you can capture and communicate your thoughts: Everyone uses the Web routinely to share questions, thoughts, info and comments with friends and colleagues. Now with new inking capabilities, Project Spartan enables you to write or type directly on the page, comment on what’s interesting or clip what you want – then easily share this “Web Note” via mail, or a social network. Researching and collecting information from the Web is just as easy, as you can save your notes directly to OneNote.

Distraction-free reading with Reading List and Reading View: Keeping up with information overload on the Web is one of the challenges that we all have to manage.  Project Spartan helps with a beautiful new Reading List to collect everything you want to read, including the ability to save any webpage or PDF for convenient access later, and an integrated, distraction-free Reading View that keeps you focused on the content.

A new engine for the modern Web: Project Spartan’s new rendering engine is built around the idea that the Web “just works,” while being fast, more secure and more reliable. As we shared in our recent developer workshop, we made some changes to the rendering engine that you will see in this build

Other changes in this release include a fix for the photos app and a fix for the out-of-box experience locking issue.

As with the previous release there are some issues with the build. Hyper-V hosting doesn’t work in 10049 so if you host VMs on your system you should avoid this build. After logging in there could be an issue with you seeing a blue screen instead of your desktop which you can fix by locking and unlocking your machine. There are also a couple of Visual Studio issues (which you can read on the Microsoft post).

Details via the Windows Blog here and here.

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