Internet Explorer Mobile 6 Available in Free Emulator (Verdict: Not Horrible)

Not content to sit still while Opera and Skyfire kick its ass in the Windows Mobile browser space, Microsoft is previewing Internet Explorer Mobile 6, the next version of the notoriously rendering-impaired mobile browser, through a downloadable emulator. The addition of a "desktop" mode is promising, as is the fact that it appears to correctly render MSNBC's javascript-rich homepage, something with Mobile IE5 couldn't dream of doing. It's probably reasonable to expect IE6 to make an appearance in Windows Mobile 6.5, but XP and Vista users can test it now, right here. UPDATE: Impressions and feature list after the jump.

As you can see on the left, page rendering still isn't quite at Mobile Safari or Opera levels, but it's a massive improvement over IE5. Inertial scrolling is solid, and the (limited) flash support is a pleasant surprise. Text wrap and zooming haven't been fully sorted out yet, so pulling out on a page often leaves paragraphs wrapped for a higher zoom level.

If these problems are addressed — and I fully expect them to be — Microsoft could have a winner on its hands. Even as is, it's a colossal step forward for Mobile IE, and one that will at minimum bring it into the same generation as its competitors. [MSDN via Slashphone]

* Improved fidelity (support for full fidelity desktop rendering)
* Layout fixes to accommodate a mobile screen (text wrap)
* Enhanced Script and AJAX support (Jscript v5.7 from Internet Explorer 8)
* Improved multimedia experience (Adobe Flash Lite 3.1 for Adobe Flash content)
* Deeper integration with search
* Enhanced cursor navigation model
* Touch and gesture support - pan support
* Multiple zoom levels
* Easy switching between mobile / desktop versions of sites by specifying UA strings.

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