Google’s Andrei Popescu this week sent out a letter regarding Android’s current stock web browser, a system built on WebKit, saying that first of all they at Google apologize for the confusion the thus-far incomplete Android port that exists today in WebKit TOT has caused. Upstreaming the Android port of WebKit has for a while been a goal of the folks working on the project at Google, and what they’ve got to report today is that they will be removing the existing incomplete Android port and replacing this with an effort that includes a webkit.org build bot compiling Chromium’s DRT for Android using the Android NDK, SDK, and toolchain.
So what in the world does all that mean, you might be asking? First of all you’ve got to know that Popescu also noted the following:
The Android Browser has come to share more and more code
with Chrome (both WebKit and Chromium). This approach has a number of
advantages for the WebKit community:
1. Android WebKit no longer requires a separate build system because
we are able to reuse Chromium’s gyp system for building.
2. Android no longer requires a separate set of WebCore clients,
platform abstractions, and embedder APIs because Android shares much
of this code with the Chromium port.
3. The Android layout tests results more closely match chromium-linux
and more expected results can be shared.
What all of this means is that by bringing the Android web browser code into the Chromium project and therefor making it open source, WebKit developers no longer have to work with two totally different systems. As the Android version of stock web browsing and Chrome web browsing become more and more similar, we can (hopefully) expect a much more optimized experience overall. At the moment, as you may already be aware, Firefox generally turns up better browsing speeds than Webkit, though should “Chrome” come to Android, we may have different results popping up.
If at all, we can expect a Chrome browser for Android inside 2012, more than likely.