Microsoft has an Edge on iOS and Android handsets

Do you use Microsoft Edge? While I haven't spent a huge amount of time with Microsoft's newest browser, I have to admit it's fast and slick. If you're a fan of the app, rejoice: Microsoft is bringing Edge to iPhones and Android handsets. Along with that news, Microsoft also announced that it's releasing its own launcher for Android.

Both the upcoming Edge release and the Android launcher are natural follow-ons from the creeping death of Windows Mobile. The release of these applications probably has to do with Microsoft's ambitions for Continuum. After all, the feature doesn't make a lot of sense if you can't integrate your smartphone into the Continuum workflow. The company says the mobile version of Edge is fully-featured and that it'll sync your favorites, reading list, and other content from your Microsoft account. The new Edge app also supports the ability to send pages to your desktop or tablet running Windows 10.

The Android launcher is arguably more interesting, at least for Android users. For those who aren't familiar with the concept, Android allows users to customize their interface by replacing the app that comes up when you press the home button on your phone. This can dramatically alter the functionality of the home screen. The new launcher was developed and released under the name Arrow Launcher previously, but Microsoft is renaming it and re-launching it today.

Microsoft's launcher is predictably heavily integrated with the company's services. Like Edge, it connects to your Microsoft account and allows you to "Continue on PC" while working on photos, documents, and other media on a compatible Windows PC. Rather than using simple media sharing, the Continue feature preserves your work context in real-time between devices. The launcher is heavily customizable and has gesture support. No word on how it performs, though.

If you're eager to get some Microsoft wares on your handheld computer, you'll have to sign up to be a tester. You can head to this site for the mobile Edge beta preview, or go here to sign up to test the Microsoft Launcher for Android.

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    • moog
    • 2 years ago

    While I’d love to minimize Google from getting my data and feeding their monopolies, I’ll wait for Firefox quantum in November – their optimizations should bring Firefox on par with the other browsers.

    • Horshu
    • 2 years ago

    Most recent release on WinPhone is the worst one yet. The thing is very susceptible to long-running scripts, so for the first time since having every gen of WinPhone, I have to kill the Edge process daily because it stops responding (won’t navigate, can go to tab mgr but cannot close any tab). Also, the number of unreadable sites is a bit much for 2017, and there’s not a whole lot you can do, as MS hasn’t addressed the issue, while the site owner will just say “Use Chrome”.
    And then there’s the desktop version, which has been crashing almost daily for me in *every* release, as it has some kind of stability problem when you are watching videos are start tearing tabs into new windows. And they aren’t even graceful crashes…the browsers all go nonresponsive for 10-20 seconds before every window just vanishes.

    • davidbowser
    • 2 years ago

    disclaimer – I work for Google.

    I realize this is talking about Edge for mobile, but I never really get much value from Edge on Win10. Maybe I didn’t try to use it long enough, but I never got Edge to work properly for me as an all-purpose browser at my last company. I ran into too many limitations (persistent tabs, plugins, website oddities) and I actually ended up using IE for most of my work stuff.

    The irony is that I was primarily using Office365 and assorted 3rd-party SAAS integrations. I would hit some odd limitation of Edge and have to open the site in IE to get it to work.

    • Delta9
    • 2 years ago

    This new launcher and Edge it almost feels like MS is feeling out how a Windows branded software branch would be received. It could be a hardened version of Android with a Windows interface, security patches and software updates provided by MS. More likely a hardware agnostic launcher with a Win based theme with close integration of software, data, and features of the users Win 10 PC. Or maybe not, this is M$. If I want to relive the beginning of the miserable MS mobile experience and the failure to move in retaliation to the original iPhone, I can fire up my Samsung SCH-i760. Windows Mobile 6.1 was the response for quite a while, and while it did well on the corporate side, it was a disaster compared to iOS in the consumer market. MS considered iPhone a toy, a fad that people would get over once the pretty looking device was tasked with doing real work. There was no way people could waste their time playing on the internet, they would use it like an iPod and get bored. When they needed a phone to do REAL work they would walk past iPhone, throw away their proprietary Blackberry for a Win 6 enterprise level mobile terminal. They went after Blackberry by offering a similar experience with the MS Windows goodness baked in. Apple was left to get their act together, by the time MS went after the consumer market, not only was iOS and the hardware mature but Android had established themselves as a player with huge leaps in refinement, features, and usability. Of course at 10 years old the i760 still boots up and connects to WiFi.

    • Voldenuit
    • 2 years ago

    Edge? The browser that exposes your [url=https://www.techworm.net/2016/02/microsofts-edge-browser-windows-10-discloses-private-browsing-history-tab.html<]private browsing history[/url<], [url=https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/microsoft-edge-vulnerability-allows-cookie-and-password-theft/<]cookies and passwords?[/url<]. Hard effin' pass.

      • BurntMyBacon
      • 2 years ago

      No. This one just says edge. On IOS it is actually a wrapper around WebKit like every other browser. Similarly, on Android, it is a wrapper around chrome’s render engine (Blink?).

      But don’t let me stop you from railing on it for vulnerabilities (not features) a year and a half and half a year old that are already patched on the Windows version of the browser where they were found and are most likely irrelevant to the Android/IOS versions of the browser in the first place due to the need to build around a completely different render engine. In fact, I’ll toss in the issue of how long it took them to properly support plugins, how few plugins are available, and the disparate quality of some of them.

    • [+Duracell-]
    • 2 years ago

    The launcher is actually pretty nice. More of a traditional launcher than Arrow was, but the feed is arguably more usable than the Pixel Launcher’s feed. Gonna try it for a few more days to see if it sticks.

    • End User
    • 2 years ago

    How the mighty have fallen.

      • NovusBogus
      • 2 years ago

      Eh, MS did it to themselves. Had the earlier versions of Windows Phone been more developer friendly they might have built up a decent enthusiast following with slow creep into the mainstream, but as it is they combined the worst aspects of both Android and iOS and nobody cared. I got a WP7 device for a dev project, I actually liked it and wound up using it as my main phone for a while but it was one of the few that could sideload apps for free thanks to an OEM diagnostic tool being ‘accidentally’ left on board. No way in hell I was going to pay $100 a year for the privilege of deploying my own code to my own gadget, so when it got old I went over to the Android side. Which happened to be about the time that I went from being a .NET/Silverlight developer to being a C++-on-embedded-Linux software engineer.

      One would think that Mr. Developers-developers-developers would have better understood the Microsoft value proposition and how to apply it to new technology, but evidently he was just mental and his successor is shaping up to be too much of a cloudunist to turn the ship around.

        • Horshu
        • 2 years ago

        Hate to say it, as I’ve found MS’ great strength to be its developer story, but in the case on WinPhone, yeah, they screwed the pooch. The high membership cost was problem #1, but a short term fix. Longer term, they just could never get their damn phone story locked down. One day it was Silverlight, the next it was UWP…unless you’re writing a game, in which case you *had* XNA, but they took that away in place of regular C++. And writing UWP with legacy libraries isn’t a whole lot of fun, either, as MS had Portable Library (not really *that* portable…a big pain with targets) but now has .Net Core….*and* .Net Standard…*and* Windows Universal libraries. Some types aren’t allowed to reference other types, so there was a bit of trial and error just to get an idea of what MS is trying to accomplish here (they didn’t do a great job of explaining the relationships between those project types). Just feels like MS doesn’t know what it wants to do with the platform, so it keeps trying a new idea with it, like some kind of Windows Driver Model cycle.

    • bender
    • 2 years ago

    Wow. Imagine if instead of spending money to build this, they’d really aggressively incentivized developers to build for the WinMo platform.

    I really wish that I had a third option in the mobile space and I always liked the unique take that MS took for their OS.

    But you need the apps.

      • cmrcmk
      • 2 years ago

      A real third option would be nice but having had a Windows Phone, I don’t wish it was still around. Their UI concept was visually attractive but in practice very slow to use. The software itself was snappy, but the design of their home page obliterated anything approaching muscle memory.

      I really wish a real open source option like FirefoxOS or Ubuntu Edge had gained traction, but I guess that’s the same longing FOSS folks have had for decades on PC. Why would it be any different on mobile?

    • cmrcmk
    • 2 years ago

    This feels like the plot to an episode of The IT Crowd where thy can’t make Jen understand the absurdity of installing Edge on her iPhone.

      • willmore
      • 2 years ago

      Needs upvotes.

        • DancinJack
        • 2 years ago

        Agree

        • trackerben
        • 2 years ago

        Done.

    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    This would just use the Safari webview for an engine in iOS, right? I guess the main point would be continuum.

      • DancinJack
      • 2 years ago

      Yes, but I think the main point is dem Bing ads probably. And user diagnostics. (unless you mean, for the user)

      • morphine
      • 2 years ago

      A while ago Apple eased that particular restriction, though I’m not sure of how deep it goes.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        You still have to use a web view but now itโ€™s not the slower unoptimized one. Starting with iOS 8 you get the nice JavaScript engine and all that.

        [url<]https://developer.apple.com/documentation/uikit/uiwebview[/url<]

        • tipoo
        • 2 years ago

        Eased means you get to use the latest Safari engine rather than a slower backwater one, but it still locks you into the rendering engine.

      • cmrcmk
      • 2 years ago

      Ars Technica said this incarnation of Edge on iOS is indeed a wrapper on WebKit whereas on Android, it’s a wrapper on Chromium.

      • LostCat
      • 2 years ago

      Still far better than Safari from what I’ve noticed. Though I haven’t tried Safari in iOS 11 yet, I wasn’t impressed earlier.

    • DancinJack
    • 2 years ago

    Honestly i’m not sure why they’re using developer resources on this. I can’t imagine it’s going to tempt many users away from Safari and Chrome.

      • tipoo
      • 2 years ago

      Having a Handoff equivalent for iOS and Android takes away one friction point of using a competitors phone with a Windows PC. Since they gave up on mobile, now it’s all about not bleeding on the PC side from the reverse direction.

        • DancinJack
        • 2 years ago

        I agree with that. I don’t think it’ll get me to switch my browser or launcher though.

          • ludi
          • 2 years ago

          This is part of Nadella’s effort to take Microsoft’s mobile focus out of hardware (and all the Balmer-era infighting that ruined those efforts) and into a platform-agnositc SaaS model. That’s why we got Android and iOS releases of the core Office applications within the past couple years. Add in OneDrive, Edge, Launcher, and maybe just a few more enhancements for Outlook’s Exchange syncing, and the workflow handoff from Android to PC to iOS and back again becomes trivial.

          I’ve got a friend who is going to love this. He held out on Windows Phone as long as possible but finally had to get an Android this year because the ecosystem for WinPhone is essentially dead.

            • Vhalidictes
            • 2 years ago

            This isn’t a bad idea at all.

            That said, there’s no reason whatsoever to have axed the MS hardware effort. MS is good at hardware, they’re a software company after all. Similarly to how Apple is wonderful at software, likely because they sell the hardware that depends on it.

      • Zizy
      • 2 years ago

      Well, one huge minus of Edge is (was) that if you stick to Chrome, you have phone and desktop browser the same. With all the benefits this gives such as tabs, passwords etc syncing and having semi-consistent UI.
      Now, you have a choice of sticking to Chrome on phone and desktop; or Edge on phone and desktop. Sure, most will stick to Chrome, but Edge might be at least a consideration now.

      Benefit vs Safari is far easier. You can use Edge on both systems, you can’t use Safari. Sure, overlap between Mac users and iOS users is pretty large, but there are still tons of iOS + Windows users. Now why install Chrome on both computers, where you can at least use native Edge on Windows?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    [quote<] If you're eager to get some Microsoft wares on your handheld computer[/quote<] One would think that if users actually wanted this they'd have bought a Lumia 950. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Sargent Duck
      • 2 years ago

      Still loving my Nokia 930

        • derFunkenstein
        • 2 years ago

        Feelin lonesome? Isnโ€™t that phone not getting updates now or am I wrong?

          • sweatshopking
          • 2 years ago

          It can still function under the insider program, but really NONE of the phones are getting updates, just bug fixes and security patches. Feature development ended a LONG time ago. WM is totally completely dead. no plans for a replacement have been announced, so anyone still using one (myself included) have all the updates they’re ever going to get. It’s annoying because my snapdragon 810 is plenty fast to handle more stuff and features, but the OS has been dumped.
          That being said, i’m in no hurry to replace it with another device. Wife’s 950 is misbehaving, and her employment likes her to use these android apps, so she’s picking up a discounted s7. she’s not loving the idea, but c’est la vie. i’m not switching in the near future from my 950xl.

            • tsk
            • 2 years ago

            Think of the power! Join the dark side my friend.

            • DragonDaddyBear
            • 2 years ago

            I love Continuum. I have a DAC and amp hooked up at work and i can listen to music while charging my phone and chat with the wife with a keyboard. I get lots of compliments on the setup.

            My 950 is the first phone I truly liked since my m7. It’s a shame the platform is being left behind. It has so much potential.

            • Laykun
            • 2 years ago

            Samsung Dex can do all this

            • sweatshopking
            • 2 years ago

            Sure it can, two years and 1000$ later. yay?

            • End User
            • 2 years ago

            How sad.

          • Sargent Duck
          • 2 years ago

          Believe it or not, there is 1 other guy on my floor at work who has a Windows10 phone (950). It is a very exclusive club.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 2 years ago

            There are dozens!

            [url<]https://youtu.be/lKie-vgUGdI[/url<]

          • glacius555
          • 2 years ago

          I can confirm that it gets all the latest updates, just like my desktop windows 10.

      • LostCat
      • 2 years ago

      I’m trying it at least, but ugh. Clearly meant for phones, as MSes mobile apps usually are.

      • drfish
      • 2 years ago

      Heh, I’m still rocking an Icon. Just got a new phone for my wife yesterday, could have had whatever she wanted, but she chose to move from her 920 to an 830 (refurb, $65). Works for me.

        • Kieta
        • 2 years ago

        I miss my ICON. The camera mostly, but just the overall OS was so clean and fluid. Good times!

          • DancinJack
          • 2 years ago

          The camera? There are tons of phones with better cameras than the Icon these days…

      • curtisb
      • 2 years ago

      Still got my 950 XL running the latest Fast Ring build. There have been a few small features added here and there, but it’s mostly from their work on Windows Core OS, and we’re being used at beta testers. Nothing wrong with that since I knew what I signed up for when I joined the Insider Program.

      There’s lots of speculation as to what they’re going to do, but nothing concrete for the handheld market. It’s widely known that they’re working on Windows 10 on ARM, but only tablet and larger sized devices have been talked about. Windows 10 Mobile as an OS is on life support. Everything in the future will just be Windows 10, regardless of the device form factor. This is being called Windows Core OS (previously called Andromeda OS). They’re modularizing the OS so that it can be used on any device from wearables up through high-end datacenter servers.

      On my personal desktop at home, I’m actually in the Skip Ahead ring so I have been getting Redstone 4 (beyond the Fall Creator’s Update) for a few weeks now. They haven’t really started adding features yet. The current 17004 build is pretty stable, but that could change with future builds as they start adding features and migrating the code base to the work being done on Windows Core OS. Again…I knew what I signed up for.

      • Zizy
      • 2 years ago

      Well, S8 MS edition comes with more MS apps (and better ones) than Lumia 950 ๐Ÿ˜€

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