One of the major benefits of upgrading to Windows 8.1 when it becomes available is the inclusion of Internet Explorer 11. The touch-friendly browser represents a pretty significant update to IE's code base, with support being offered for WebGL and Google's SPDY protocol, as well as improved HTML5 support. While the new browser is shipping with Windows 8.1, Microsoft is planning to port it over to Windows 7.
That tidbit comes courtesy of Engadget, which claims "Microsoft opened up about" plans to deliver IE11 to Windows 7 users, though the Redmond software giant hasn't released an official statement (that we know of) or offered up any kind of time frame.
According to Microsoft, IE11 offers better touch performance, faster page load times, a continuous browsing experience across Windows devices, and completely rebuilt F12 developer tools. It's also supposed to be more battery efficient, in part by offloading image decoding to the GPU.
For you power surfers out there, IE11 supports up to 100 tabs per window, with independent tab suspension for efficient use of memory and battery, and faster switching between tabs. It also supports side-by-side browsing, a handy feature for, say, comparison shopping between two sites.