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Windows 8 isn’t the only window getting an upgrade at Microsoft. Drivers passing by the Internet Explorer headquarters in Redmond today will notice something new — a reference to IE11, the new version of Internet Explorer that will be released along with Windows 8.1.

Microsoft confirmed plans to release the new browser version as it gave the first official details about Windows 8.1 this morning. Here are the details on the new browser from the Microsoft post about the OS update:

IE11 builds on the advancements in IE10 and is the only browser that is built for touch. IE11 will offer even better touch performance, faster page load times and several other new features we think you will enjoy. For example, you can now adjust the appearance of modern IE11 to always show the address bar and you can have as many open tabs as you like. And you can access your open tabs in sync across your other Windows 8.1 devices.

The changing windows at IE headquarters have become a tradition at the company — previously referring to IE10, and before that to earlier versions of the browser.

It’s not exactly smoke coming out of the chimney, but it’s a fun way of tracking IE versions in the analog world. If Chrome or Firefox did this, they’d probably need to make window-changing a full-time position, just to keep up with the versions.

Microsoft says Windows 8.1 will be released later this year as a free update, with a preview release scheduled for June 26 in conjunction with the company’s Build developer conference in San Francisco. For more on the operating system update see my earlier post.

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