Now that the legacy version of Microsoft's Edge browser has run out of support, Microsoft is doubling-down on its new Chromium-based Edge browser. During the Ignite 2021 conference, Microsoft revealed plans to align the codebase of the Edge browser on all supported platforms.
Currently, Microsoft Edge on the desktop differs from the mobile versions of Edge for iOS and Android, and even the mobile apps differ because the iOS version is using WebKit as its codebase while the Android version Chromium.
The current situation is problematic from a development point of view, as features need to be developed independently currently. A feature introduced on the desktop, e.g. Collections, needed to be recreated for mobile versions of Edge; this causes development overhead and results in different versions of Edge offering different features to users of the browser.
Going forward, Microsoft Edge will be based on a single codebase that is Chromium. All browsers, desktop and mobile, share that codebase. Microsoft plans to migrate all features of the current versions of Edge for Android and iOS to that new codebase, so that Enterprise customers may continue to use policies and existing features that are present in the current Edge versions for mobile devices.
The engineering process benefits from the change significantly, as it is easier to bring features and changes to all versions of Microsoft Edge, and to introduce desktop features, those that are useful on mobile devices, to the mobile versions of the browser.
Microsoft started the platform aligning work last year. The company plans to release a beta version of the platform aligned versions of Microsoft Edge for Android and iOS in the coming months. The beta will be published to the Google Play Store and Apple iOS TestFlight. The beta apps can be installed side-by-side with the regular versions of Microsoft Edge according to Microsoft.
Here is the video of the announcement:
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