Apple's Conquest Of Mobile Browsing Continues With Google Phone Platform

from the open-source-browser dept

Google's GPhone (non-)announcement wasn't a big surprise, but some of the tidbits that are now emerging about the Android mobile OS are intriguing. For example, in a new video, Google's Steve Horowitz mentions that the default Android web browser will be based on Webkit, which he says is "the industry standard these days." Webkit is the open source package of web browser libraries that's at the heart of Apple's Safari web browser, and was originally based on the Linux Konquerer browser. Nokia gave the libraries a big boost last year when it announced a WebKit-based browser for its own mobile phones. And this year, Apple used WebKit as the foundation for the iPhone's web browser. The Google announcement further consolidates WebKit's status as a leading platform for mobile web browsers. The choice of WebKit for mobile browsing makes sense. Mobile browsers need to be fast and have a small footprint, and Apple originally chose the Konquerer codebase because it found it to be much leaner than Mozilla's codebase. The growing popularity of WebKit is good news for Mac Safari users (like me), who are less likely to see those annoying "your browser is not supported" messages when they visit websites. It's also good for the broader web-browsing public, as it represents the rise of a third major competitor in the browser market. As WebKit continues to grow in popularity, it will make more sense for website developers to focus on conforming to standards rather than customizing a site to the quirks of a particular browser. That, in turn, will force Microsoft (and Mozilla, but mostly Microsoft) to focus on conforming to the standards themselves, contributing to a virtuous circle of standards compliance that ultimately makes everyone's lives easier.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    jon, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 4:39pm

    "contributing to a virtuous circle of standards compliance that ultimately makes everyone's lives easier."

    I dream of that day. But I won't believe it can exist until I see it (maybe in my next life?).

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    dazcon5, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 4:55pm

    Standards

    Microsoft "following" standards??!! um.. yeah... like that'll happen. "Embrace and extend" == "You will be assimilated"

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    umm no, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 5:08pm

    Standard based browsers are asking for problems..

    Just think, if every browser conformed to standars, what the hell would be the difference between one browser and the next? They would all be the same and then the competition would be who allows the most fluff.

    ack

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Haywood Jablowme, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 5:19pm

    umm you don't know what you are talking about....

    Hahahaha I needed that, thanks! I've had a rough day and I needed a good clownpost to lift my spirits.

    Standards Compliance has little or nothing to do with how useful a browser is, how the bookmarks/favorites are arranged, whether it has tabbed browsing or not, what it's security is like, what addons it supports, etc...

    If all browsers magically became 100% compliant to all relevant standars the majority of users wouldn't even notice on the majority of popular sites. But web developers sure would notice, and they would kneel down and give thanks to whatever entity performed such a miracle!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Yehii wood!, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 5:31pm

    Re: umm you don't know what you are talking about.

    You have it absolutely correct. Standard Compliance is a must.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Chris, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 5:40pm

    Nokia WebKit is not same as Apple's WebKit

    If you developed mobile sites before, you will know that pages render very differently on the different variations of WebKit. Case in point check out any website using a Nokia N-series and check out the same site using iPhone, you will notice many irregularities.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 6:33pm

    Wrong

    The growing popularity of WebKit is good news for Mac Safari users (like me), who are less likely to see those annoying "your browser is not supported" messages when they visit websites.
    You must be mistaken. According to Steve Jobs, Safari already "works with any Web site". Perhaps you should read your own links first.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 6:40pm

    Re: umm you don't know what you are talking about.

    Hahahaha I needed that, thanks! I've had a rough day and I needed a good clownpost to lift my spirits.

    Standards Compliance has little or nothing to do with how useful a browser is,
    Yeah right. Try using a totally non-compliant browser that won't read any websites and tell me how useful it is. Talk about "clownposts".

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 6:50pm

    Re:

    Standard based browsers are asking for problems..

    Just think, if every browser conformed to standars, what the hell would be the difference between one browser and the next? They would all be the same and then the competition would be who allows the most fluff.
    Every automobile sold in the US must meet minimum standards, yet the differences between them go beyond "fluff".

    ack
    Hairball treatments.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    T.J., Nov 13th, 2007 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, but every car sold meets the minimum standards. Internet Explorer, in no way, meets any standards. Any web developer can tell you about all the headaches caused by trying to get a website or web-app to work properly in IE. There is plenty of room for individuality above the standards, but supporting web-standards should be a minimum at least.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Shun, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 11:24pm

    Open Standards

    Regardless of how things have been done in the past, the mobile phone / smart phone platform is a place where we can have open standards, and pretty much enforce them. The reason why M$ can get away with breaking web pages is because they dominate the desktop, and IE is a de-facto standard.

    Conversely, there is no standard in the mobile phone world. We have M$, Apple, OpenMoko, Symbian. It's kind of a wild west, at the moment. Google is just trying to capitalize on that, and give developers a chance to code for an "open" standard.

    I like to go on the "just think if M$ or Apple controlled..." types of rants. I'll give you an example. What if one company controlled IEEE 802.11b. Just stacked that body with a bunch of corporate shills. Wouldn't that be a nightmare. "This router only works with genuine Microsoft parts" or "Will only work with Airport".

    So, I tend to believe that open, transparent standards are good. Now, the fact that Google still decides what ultimately stays in the code is a bit problematic...but, oh well. I'll fight that battle another day, once Sauron is neutralized.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    General Eskimo, Nov 13th, 2007 @ 11:51pm

    Re:

    Err, I am hoping that was sarcasm. I really am. Standards are what allow the keyboard you type on to communicate with your motherboard model, because otherwise an intel 975X mobo would require an intel 975X keyboard!

    He was speaking about their "core", because this is what allows you to view web pages which were not explicitly written for your browser. Imagine being a web programmer and having to write separate HTML for 20 different common web browsers? Standards give a unified foundation so that actual progress can be made, instead of a 10-year battle over how to impliment technology which was old news a decade ago.

    Hell, why don't we do away with all standards! SCREW OPERATING SYSTEMS, with their attempt to allow programs to run the same on different configurations. Screw OpenGL and Direct3D, whose main use is to provide a standard to allow 3D graphics to run across different hardware platforms! All programs should just be written separately for every platform, because it promotes COMPETITION BASED ON FEATURES!

    So, when you go and buy some Spreadsheet program, instead of having a Mac and PC version, you'll have the:
    Intel x86
    -Willamette
    -Northwood
    -Prescott
    -Gallatin
    -Cedar Mill
    Intel x86-64
    -Conroe
    -Allendale
    -Merom
    -Kentsfield
    -Yorkfield
    -Penryn
    AMD 32-bit
    AMD 64
    ...etc etc...

    Wow! There could be hundreds of independent versions of the same core application. And the best part is, since they would most likely be forced to be developed somewhat independently (independent of standards), NONE OF THE FILES WOULD WORK ON THE OTHER PLATFORMS!

    Hell, everyone could design their own file-system too! Or if you want to make images in your app, MAKE YOUR OWN IMAGE FORMAT, because otherwise all products would be the same. Reinvent the wheel every time, just for the sake of being different. I know that is the type of mentality that OOP is all about! (If you missed that reference, then wiki it)

    Oh YA! DOWN WITH STANDARDS!

    Your right, this DOES sound like a better world!


    (BTW- If you are being sarcastic, then this is directed at anyone who was inadvertently agreeing with your stated opinion)

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Dolores Wheatly, Nov 14th, 2007 @ 3:59am

    Innofest2007

    Innofest 2007 Innominds is planning to organize its 2nd Annual Convention and Customer meet (InnoFest 2007) in Santa Clara, CA on Friday, November 16th, 2007. The common theme of Innofest2007 is “Defining business models and partnership objectives to gear up global growth strategies for the participants in the IT ecosystem”. During the Convention Party they plan on identifying and debating fundamental issues that will shape the future of innovation and software product development in the lines of the common theme. Innofest2007 will be attended by Innominds’ ISV customers, business partners, prospect ISVs, VCs and industry analysts. The event provides a platform that would enable the players of this ecosystem to interact. It will be an opportunity for you to meet your peer community and learn from their business practices, potential partners, funding houses who may be interested in your products and analysts who may want to write about you in their features. http://innofest2007.blogspot.com

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    jhunter, Nov 14th, 2007 @ 6:47am

    wow

    "That, in turn, will force Microsoft (and Mozilla, but mostly Microsoft) to focus on conforming to the standards themselves"

    It may even force Apple to conform to standards too!

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Brad, Nov 14th, 2007 @ 11:21am

    WebKit != Apple

    Okay, I'm sick of "analysts" that claim to be "informed" giving massive praise to Apple for taking a well documented and widely developed opensource project and slapping it on another platform. Apple didn't re-invent the browser. Apple didn't revolutionize the mobile internet. APPLE IS NOT CONQUERING THE MOBILE WEB! THE STUCK AN OPENSOURCE BROWSER ON THEIR CELLPHONE, SO THEY WOULDN'T HAVE TO WRITE AS MUCH CODE.

    In fact, almost all the "fancy" features you see in the iPhone browser (full-page view and spot zooming, for example) were available in the 2006 public beta of Microsoft's Deepfish browser.

    Get up off your knees in the Apple office. Claiming WebKit is somehow "Apple's" is disrespectful to all the thousands of opensource hours that went into it.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    jamie aged 10, Nov 15th, 2007 @ 9:21am

    why cant everyone just fucking get along

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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