More Use of Open Source Mobile Web Browsers

It might not be the case that control of a mobile browser necessarily means control of the applications environment. It might, though, mean substantial upside in terms of software customization and enhancement of user experience. So mobile device manufacturers seem to be focusing on use of open-source browser platforms as a way to leverage creation of other applications that can lead to differentiation of user experience.

As consumers increasingly surf the Web on their mobile phones, handset vendors are looking toward open-source browsers such as WebKit – the browser engine at the heart of the iPhone’s Safari browser – as a way to bring it to them. However, despite growing interest in WebKit and Gecko (the engine for the Mozilla Corporation Firefox browser), commercial browser vendors such as Opera and ACCESS continue to see growth in their businesses.

According to ABI Research, overall growth in the mobile browser category will lead to a total pre-installed revenue of $492 million by 2013, driven by the trends of more complex HTML-based browser integration.

“Device manufacturers are interested in open-source solutions where there is a desire for increased control of their software footprint, and where they can bring internal programming resources to bear,” says research director Michael Wolf. “

Open-source offerings such as WebKit are experiencing adoption by vendors such as Apple, Nokia, and others. Google made WebKit its core browser and Web-rendering engine for the Android platform; and application framework vendors such as Trolltech have integrated WebKit into their development framework. Mozilla also continues to develop its version of mobile Firefox, and Nokia has integrated a Gecko-based browser on its N800 Internet tablet.
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