Google is tinkering with a version of its Chrome web browser for iPhone that does not use the WebKit rendering engine. The same is true for Mozilla and the Firefox browser.
Releasing these is currently impossible because of Apple’s browser rules, but the iPhone-maker may be forced to drop that restriction soon.
Chrome and Firefox browsers for iPhone might get a new rendering engine
Safari, Chrome and Firefox each have fans, but many iPhone users might not realize that all three web browsers use the same rendering engine. This means their basic functionality is identical, with only secondary features to set them apart.
That’s why it’s big news that Google’s Chromium developers are working on a version of Chrome based on the Blink rendering engine. As noticed by The Register, the project is “Experimental only, not a launch bug for a shippable product.”
And Mozilla is doing its own experiments with its rendering engine, again according to The Register.
Governments may loosen Apple’s grip on the App Store
The rule requiring all iPhone apps that access the web to use WebKit has been in place for many years. But it could be going away soon.
A recent report by the U.S. Commerce Department is very critical of the rule. It notes that because of the WebKit requirement for iPhone, “the browsers that users recognize elsewhere — on Android and on desktop computers — do not have the same functionality that they do on those other platforms.”
Governments around the world have already begun forcing changes on big tech companies. The EU required Apple drop the Lightning port from iPhone and allow sideloading third-party applications. Given the current regulatory environment, the days when WebKit is the only option may be numbered.
If so, Google apparently wants to be ready with a Blink-based version of its browser for iPhone. And Mozilla would surely soon have an updated version of Firefox, too.