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Microsoft's IE VP Dean Hachamovitch previews Internet Explorer 10 this morning at the MIX conference in Las Vegas. (Image via webcast)

Fresh off the release of Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft this morning gave the first small glimpse of its plans for the next version of the browser, previewing some of the technologies planned for Internet Explorer 10.

For now, at least, it’s the type of stuff that only hard-core webheads will appreciate — namely, new support for CSS3 Gradients on background images and CSS3 Flexible Box Layout. But it’s notable that Microsoft is talking so quickly about the next version, and it underscores a movement in the industry — led by Chrome and Firefox — toward a more steady pace of releases.

Internet Explorer VP Dean Hachamovitch announced the early IE10 platform preview on stage at the company’s MIX web development conference in Las Vegas this morning.

Access a live stream of the keynote here. The IE10 platform preview can be downloaded here, and Microsoft is promising updates every 12 weeks.

“We built IE9 from the ground up for HTML5 and for Windows to deliver the most native HTML5 experience and the best Web experience on Windows,” writes Hachamovitch in a post this morning. “IE10 continues on IE9’s path, directly using what Windows provides and avoiding abstractions, layers, and libraries that slow down your site and your experience.”

For more detail, here’s a Microsoft video demonstrating the initial features planned for the browser.

As noted by Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet, Internet Explorer 10 is widely expected to be the version included in Windows 8 next year, although Microsoft hasn’t yet announced that level of detail about the next version of the browser.

Earlier: Opera browser update boosts Turbo, improves Speed Dial

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