Just a mere week after I decided to publish an article on why Microsoft probably will never release Edge on other platforms, they do just that. I swear I had no prior knowledge of this news when I published last weeks article!
I did leave the door open for this event.
"So maybe....you never know.I do think having an option to make my favorites available on those platforms would be nice. I plan on switching to Android before the end of the year."
Looks like it happened way sooner than later.
I wrote the article several months ago, primarily in response to someone arguing with me about Chrome on iOS. For some reason I decided to publish the piece last week, mostly because it was written and wanted to get some content out.
Like Chrome on iOS, Edge will just be a wrapper around the Safari and Android WebViews. Components like EdgeHTML simply are not allowed by the rules of Apple's governance.
The main goal of this release is to allow better integration with Microsoft services and letting consumers roam with their passwords and favorites.
One of the bigger objections I hear from friends about using Edge is the lack of profile roaming to their mobile devices.
The first version of Edge on iOS and Android will not offer tab roaming. Your reading list and favorites are available, which is exciting to me because I store lots of references in my reading list and favorites.
"Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android brings familiar features like your Favorites, Reading List, New Tab Page and Reading View across your PC and phone, so, no matter the device, your browsing goes with you. But what makes Microsoft Edge really stand out is the ability to continue on your PC, which enables you to immediately open the page you’re looking at right on your PC—or save it to work on later."
There is no option to change the default browser on iOS, but Microsoft apps like Outlook will allow you to open links in Edge. Android does allow you to change the default browsers, which means you can set Edge as the default.
From a developer and analytics perspective there will be a new, unique user agent string. User Agent strings are used to identify the browser client to the server and are often used to browser sniff (please stop this practice) and break down traffic sources.
Microsoft Edge for iOS user agent stringMozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 1032 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/603.2.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile/14F89 Safari/603.2.4 EdgiOS/220.127.116.11
Microsoft Edge for Android user agent stringMozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 8.0; Pixel XL Build/OPP3.170518.006) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/58.0.3029.0 Mobile Safari/537.36 EdgA/18.104.22.168
I don't have clarity as to what versions are needed on each platform. I suspect iOS will be 10, which for the most part should be updated to iOS 11 by most soon anyway. Oreo is the latest version of Android, but I suspect Marshmallow and Nougat should be fine.
This is the first version of this app. So don't expect there it be a perfect user experience parity between the Windows version of Edge. You can provide feedback to the Edge team as to what features you would like to see and of course any bugs you may encounter.
"Taken in that light, it should then not be a surprise that we have chosen to adopt the core web platform technologies on each of the app platforms we are announcing today." Edge Developer Bl;og
The choice to use these platform specific engines is partially due to platform restrictions. But as the developer blog post shares it is to provide the best experience possible on those platforms.
Initially access to Edge on the other platforms is limited to insiders. You can sign up for Edge on your favorite mobile platform here.
To keep up to date with the latest Edge specific developer news follow the Edge team on Twitter and their [blog[(https://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/).
This release is a positive move and continues a trend of Microsoft porting its stable of consumer applications to mobile platforms. To me it is another signal of the Windows Phone platform officially dying soon.
Personally I am happy about Edge on Android because I ordered a Google Pixel 2 phone yesterday! Now I can keep my seamless browsing experience, at least as it pertains to favorites and reading list.