Microsoft is progressing at an electric pace with Windows 8 development, and beta users can try the latest test of Internet Explorer 10 exclusively. But analysts reckon it may come too late to save the company's tablet ambitions.

More HTML5 in Internet Explorer 10

As Windows 8 promises groovy cloud and Kinect-based features,  more prosaic matters see the fourth version of the IE10 preview now available for download, but only to those who have installed the Windows 8 Developer Beta. If you're in that crowd, then you can try out the latest HTML 5 and improved performance features of the upcoming browser.

They include support for HTML5 text captioning, with time-code, placement and captioning file formats for videos. API writer support for blobBuilder allows the manipulation of large binary objects in the browser, plus support for JavaScript-typed arrays allows for efficient storage and manipulation of typed data.

Bigger Drives and Speedier Setups in Windows 8

When it does go public, Windows 8 will arrive to a world of massive amounts of content, huge files and vast hard disk drives. The company reckons eight-terabyte drives will be the order of the day soon. To address these monsters, Windows 8 will have an updated NTFS to support larger sector sizes and advanced format media.

There's an interesting read on the challenges and history that got us here on the MSDN blog, summarizing the place that the BIOS, GTP partitioning and other essentials play in making that ridiculously large drive appear as lovely, open expanse of storage.


Setting up Windows 8 will be faster and easier

Microsoft also recently posted that setup performance has been vastly improved. While Windows 7 used four different processes and 60-odd screens and various acknowledgements, Windows 8 will have that down to just one process and around 10-12 interactions, with huge improvements in Web and remote installs for admins.

Still Blowing the Tablet Market?

Despite all this endeavor, analysts at Forrester reckon that Windows 8 on tablets will arrive too late to help Microsoft win any great market share. With the iPad and Kindle Fire sewing up the market between them, and Nokia hinting at tablets next summer (with ARM models possibly not arriving until 2013), it could all be too little, too late.

That's a brave claim, despite their statistics showing a waning interest, but Microsoft has now been very late to the table with a creditable smartphone and to repeat the trick with a tablet puts it at a massive disadvantage. Of course, the huge Windows ecosystem could see a different reality emerge, particularly in the enterprise 2.0 environment. But, it looks like the eager consumer market may already have their fill of cheap, fun tablets before Microsoft arrives on the scene.