Browser realpolitik

If you didn’t think Google’s move to fork Webkit with its own engine Blink wasn’t going to make things a little messy on the browser front, think again.

That’s because – as I wrote for this week’s weekly update – the Webkit power-center mainly revolves around Apple now, and now, given Google’s move, the Webkit folks are looking to do a little house – or rather code – cleaning.

The email is from a software engineer at Apple, and it shows how Google’s move has already started to push the camps – and code bases – farther apart. While the initial target may be only code that is specifically for Chromium, as The Register points out, there are inevitably going to be those Webkit developers who rely on Google specific code like the V8 Javascript engine.

Long term, things will get messier and slightly confusing for companies as the balkanization around browser code continues. Just as Samsung could potentially be hurt by the removal of the V8 Javascript engine, just consider that they are also in bed with Mozilla for a next-gen browser engine themselves.

Bottom line, all of these bigger companies will have to manage multiple browser engines across multiple product lines in coming years until things shake out.  But, just as with politics, it seems all the big players are working behind the scenes in a game of browser realpolitik to gain an upper hand down the road.

Why Firefox 4 Replaces Safari as My Default Browser

Firefox 4, released today, includes a lot of new features, including tabs-on-top, App Tab and a new full screen mode. All are features which aren’t present in Safari, and ones that have me eager to stick with Firefox 4 for the long haul.

Firefox Mobile for Android in 2010 — for WinMo, Who Knows?

Firefox Mobile for Maemo arrived last month, but without many devices to take advantage of it, people are wondering which platform will be the next one to see Mozilla’s browser. Microsoft’s clean break with Windows Phone 7 just might push Mozilla to Android first.

Palm Pre Homebrew Apps of the Day — fileCoaster, Pack ‘N Track

fcoaster_2009-05-08_182606We have two homebrew apps of the day for the Palm (s palm) Pre, which brings the total current count to 170 titles. To tell the truth, we’ve covered both of these before, but both have recent updates worth a mention. The first is the great app fileCoaster, which is the program that makes finding, downloading and installing homebrew apps a snap. It makes our list today because a new version has recently been released and it adds some useful new features.
Version 1.1.3 of fileCoaster provides more detailed status messages at the bottom of the screen while the program is running, so you have a better idea what is going on at all times. It also adds the ability to sort the apps by fields — such as name, rating and date updated, for example —  so it’s easier to navigate the increasing number of apps in the catalog.
The second homebrew app of the day is one we’ve covered quite a bit. Kevin and I absolutely love the app PrePackage — a shipment tracking program that is as good as these types of utilities get. It makes our list today because the developer has updated the app and changed the name to Pack ‘N Track. This update and name change is in preparation of leaving homebrew status for submission into the official Pre App Catalog. This likely means the program will start costing something, so if you haven’t already installed PrePackage then get it while it’s free. Just remember it is now Pack ‘N Track.

For Firefox, a Challenging Future Awaits

For much of this decade, Mozilla and its Firefox browser were the upstarts, out to beat the big, bad Microsoft and its Internet Explorer browser. Firefox, the descendant of Netscape, the browser that helped jump-start the web revolution, was nimble and it was secure — something Microsoft’s (s msft) IE wasn’t. And it triggered a movement. According to Net Applications, which tracks browser market share, as of the end of May, Mozilla accounted for some 22 percent of the browser market. Microsoft’s IE, by comparison, still holds a roughly 66 percent share. [digg=]

Despite it success, the open-source browser maker finds itself in an all familiar situation: fighting the odds on multiple fronts. Unlike the past when it had to contend just with Microsoft, Mozilla’s competition has grown many fold. Furthermore, the browser battleground has grown much bigger and now also includes mobile devices. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8, Apple’s (s aapl) Safari 4.0, Google’s (s goog) Chrome, Opera and Firefox are the five major competitors on the desktop, while WebKit-based browsers are the champions of the mobile world. Last week, when Mozilla announced its new Firefox 3.5 browser software, I decided to reach out to CEO John Lilly for a quick conversation about the state of the browser market. After all, Firefox’s latest browser comes at a time when Google, Apple and Microsoft have all upped the ante in the browser marketplace. Read More about For Firefox, a Challenging Future Awaits

Microsoft Releases IE 8 to Combat Rival Browsers

ie8accelerator_webIn exactly 14 hours, at 9 am PST, you will be able to download the Internet Explorer 8.0 browser, Microsoft’s (s msft) response to Firefox, Chrome and Safari, from the company’s web site. The release is a tactical acknowledgment by Redmond, Wash.-based software giant that it’s locked in a bitter battle for market share with Mozilla’s Firefox, Opera, Google’s (s goog) Chrome and Apple’s (s aapl) Safari browsers.
So far it’s been on the losing side of the equation, ceding market share to its upstart rivals, all of whom are touting ease of use, simplicity, security and speed. Microsoft’s browser chief, Mike Nash, thinks the new IE 8.0 has got all that and more. While many of the new features in this browser are available to users of Safari and Firefox (via plugins), Microsoft is offering a comprehensive package — sans download — for a majority of the people that continue to patronize IE. Read More about Microsoft Releases IE 8 to Combat Rival Browsers