Those Internet Explorer 9 platform previews are all well and good, but they're hardly usable for day-to-day browsing—you know, what with the missing user interface and all. ZDNet now says the first IE9 beta isn't too far off; Microsoft COO Kevin Turner reportedly revealed a September release schedule for it during a keynote speech yesterday.
ZDNet doesn't say much else, except that the beta is "expected to be" public and will feature "more of the user interface elements." Also, the final version of IE9 probably won't make it out until next year.
I can't help but be excited about IE9. Instead of playing catch-up like with IE8, Microsoft has broken some new ground by implementing rather effective hardware acceleration features. The platform previews render dynamic HTML5 content like this far quicker than Chrome 5 and the Firefox 4 betas, and the previews feel quite snappy when rendering normal web pages, too. Unless Google and Mozilla manage to implement full hardware acceleration in Windows before IE9 makes it out of the gate, I might actually consider switching to Microsoft's next browser.