Dev

Mozilla & Samsung team to take on Webkit’s mobile browser dominance

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Samsung already builds Android hardware — now it wants to help build the underlying software running on it.

The South Korean manufacturer’s teaming up with Mozilla to make Servo, a web browser engine for ARM Android devices built with Mozilla’s Rust programming language.

While a Servo-based browser could help Mozilla one day take on Chrome, Servo right now seems focused on WebKit, the browser engine that drives Chrome, Safari, the BlackBerry 10 browser, and, eventually, Opera. (It’s worth noting that Mozilla doesn’t explicitly mention Webkit in the announcement post.)

The project obviously means a lot to Mozilla, seeing that the company makes, well, web browsers. But what about Samsung?

The answer is actually pretty simple: Servo takes advantage of so-called parallel hardware (i.e., devices with multiple cores), which, despite their power, don’t actually run apps any faster due to power constraints. Samsung obviously sees an opportunity in fixing that problem by making software that’s more optimized for its devices, which is why its deal with Mozilla makes so much sense.

A lot of this also ties into Samsung’s ongoing efforts to distance itself from Google. If Samsung can make a native web browser that takes full advantage of its hardware — well, that’s a big win.

Obviously, all of this is in its early stages, but Mozilla says that it and Samsung “will be increasingly looking at opportunities on mobile platforms.” Take from that what you will.

Photo: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat


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