Microsoft Explains Microsoft Edge for Android and iOS to Developers

Posted on October 5, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Mobile, Windows 10 with 34 Comments

Microsoft Explains Microsoft Edge for Android and iOS to Developers

In the wake of today’s surprise announcement about Microsoft bringing Edge to Android and iOS, the software giant has issued guidance to developers about how they should handle the new browsers.

The short version: There’s precious little they need to worry about.

“Microsoft Edge is coming to iOS and Android, bringing the best browsing experience on Windows 10 to more pockets around the world,” Microsoft’s Sean Lyndersay notes. “One of the most common web developer questions we’re expecting is – what engine are you using? Did you port EdgeHTML to iOS and Android?”

No. No, they did not.

Instead, and as expected, Microsoft is instead using the underlying web rendering engine that is available on each platform. On Android, that means Google Chrome and Blink. And on iOS, where they are, in fact, required to use this web rendering engine, that means Safari and WebKit.

“You can expect that, from a compatibility perspective, Microsoft Edge for Android will match the version of Chrome that is currently available for Android,” Lyndersay explains. “And Microsoft Edge for iOS should match the version of Safari that is currently available for iOS.”

In other words, developers don’t need to do a thing: If their sites work with Chrome and Safari—and they do—they will work fine with Edge on Android and iOS.

That said, Microsoft is providing a unique User Agent string for each browser for those developers that wish to know exactly which browser is running. Notably, those strings do not use the term “Edge” anywhere. We wouldn’t want to scare anyone.


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Comments (34)

34 responses to “Microsoft Explains Microsoft Edge for Android and iOS to Developers”

  1. Elindalyne

    Ironically W10M Edge's user agent used to be read as Android by the majority of sites out there... No idea if that's still the case.

  2. haizelmaeem

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  3. ChristopherCollins

    It's too late now anyway. This could have been done at Win 10 release and they would have had a chance. Now so many of those people use Chrome or Firefox and will not be trying again. I am a tech enthusiast and I have tried Edge again with each update (out of loyalty). I'm so deep into Chrome now (unwillingly) that there is no reason to turn back.

    • wright_is

      In reply to ChristopherCollins:

      Chrome stopped loading websites yesterday (unreachable) on my PC, so I switched to Edge... With LastPass, I just carried on, business as usual, I didn't really see any difference, until I tried looking at my phone... No history from my PC. That is the biggest thing they need to ensure.

      Edge is, in and of itself, not bad. But it suffers, because it isn't multi-platform. I used to use Firefox, but it started having rendering issues on my Skylake laptop, so I switched to Chrome, I prefer Firefox, but it doesn't work properly at the moment. If Edge offers multi-platform abilities, I might give it a proper go.

  4. Eric Jutrzenka

    It makes sense to integrate the rendering engine and javascript runtime with the OS from a technical point of view. It's been this way on mobile for a while and it makes sense to do the same thing on desktop. Microsoft have already started doing this; I think apple probably will too. You have an os integrated rendering engine and js runtime and vendor provided browser/application experiences on top of that.

  5. Waethorn

    Ask yourself this: is anybody even asking for this?

  6. innitrichie

    I'm betting that Edge will be the dominant browser across all platforms within 5 years.

    Can we please hold a mock funeral for Chrome already?

  7. illuminated

    I want my outlook contact sync on Android like I had on my old Windows Phone. Loved it.

    • James Wilson

      In reply to illuminated:

      So on my Huawei, if I install Outlook for Android, my Outlook and Exchange accounts sync. Interestingly, the account then also syncs with the local Huawei Contacts account - both ways - so I can use my Outlook contacts for calling etc. I can also create an account on my local Huawei contacts app, and this automatically syncs with either Outlook or Office 365 - depending on how I set up the contact.

  8. skane2600

    If the foundations of Edge on iOS and Android are the same as what currently exists on these platforms, what advantage would it give to users over the native browsers?

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to skane2600:

      Syncing with Windows PCs. Not just bookmarks and passwords, but it'd seem active tabs along with any current entries. The work on it anywhere idea. Myself, I'm not convinced there's much overlap in what most people do in browsers on their phones and on their PCs, at least not when it comes to a lot of user entries.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to skane2600:

      Considering that the only people that use Edge use it because they don't know any better, none.

    • prjman

      In reply to skane2600: I would think you would be able to carry over your experience from the PC version. Just like Chrome, your browsing history, passwords, etc. would be available on both your PC and your phone.

      I have felt that not having a mobile version has been holding Edge back. This should help.

  9. PeteB

    Good now offer Edge to Windows 7, 8.1 and Linux, ya dummies. You know like should have been there from day one ..

    • Falex

      In reply to PeteB:

      > offer Edge to Windows 7, 8.1 and Linux

      why, not enough choice already?

    • Wizzwith

      In reply to PeteB:

      On Linux yes! And Mac!  But on Windows 7 and 8.1?  Why bother, there won't be any meaningful share of Windows 7 usage 2 years from now (and 8.1 is already single digits). 

      • rbgaynor

        In reply to Wizzwith:

        XP still commands 6% of the desktop OS share, there will still be a very meaningful share of WIndows 7 users come 2019.

        • Wizzwith

          In reply to rbgaynor:

          You mistake those users for mattering.  Windows 7 will probably have ~10% usage share in 2020 (and beyond! there are always some holdouts, and ancient hardware in underdeveloped countries).  But those users are irrelevant from a business standpoint as they aren't the audience paying money for software or services. 

          • rbgaynor

            In reply to Wizzwith:

            I suspect the share of Windows 7 machines will be 25% at a minimum in 2020, many of those will be business installs. This will still be a thorn in Microsoft's side in 2020.

    • warren

      In reply to PeteB:

      Microsoft ended mainstream support and upgrades for Windows 7 almost two and a half years ago. It's over. Get over it.

      I swear, people these days have lost all perspective of how much time has passed. Seriously..... like, move the clock back 16 years and try your argument again -- in effect, you'd be demanding Microsoft support Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 3.11.

    • rameshthanikodi

      In reply to PeteB:

      Well they did offer upgrading to Windows 10 for free....

  10. MikeGalos

    Of course they used the native engine. That's how all 3rd party browsers work in mobile operating systems. Just like Chrome does on iOS for example. It's Safari with a Chrome shell.