Kiwi Browser dev prepares to release Chromium updates more frequently
There are a lot of third-party web browsers out there, many of which use Chromium as their base. One such browser available on Android is called Kiwi Browser, developed by XDA Senior Member arnaud42. Kiwi is aimed at power users with features like a built-in ad-blocker, crypto-jacking protection, and most importantly, extensions support, a feature that most Chromium-based browsers — notably Google Chrome itself — lack on mobile.
It isn’t easy for an indie dev to maintain a Chromium fork that diverges in lots of ways from the main codebase, which is why updates to Kiwi Browser have been slow and the underlying Chromium version hasn’t been in sync with Google’s releases. It’s become even harder to keep up with the Chromium release cycle since Google recently moved from a 6 week schedule to a 4 week one. However, that could change soon as future updates to Kiwi Browser will automatically include the latest Chromium version as well.
Automated releases with Kiwi Next
This is thanks to work the developer has done on a project called “Kiwi Next,” which is “Kiwi Browser auto-rebased with latest Chromium.” The developer tells us he’s been working on scripting and automation tools to follow the new Chromium release cycle more efficiently. This should hopefully keep Kiwi in sync with the latest Chromium release, so users won’t have to miss out on critical bug fixes or new browser features. Auto-rebasing can result in unforeseen errors or breakages thanks to code conflicts from the merger, but it seems the developers have figured out how to quickly integrate their existing code on top of the latest Chromium release.
Kiwi Browser based on Chromium 93
Apart from the Kiwi Next project, the developer has also been working on rolling out a major new update to the Kiwi Browser app. The latest update is based on Chromium version 93.0.4577, so compatibility with websites has been significantly improved as has performance thanks to all the improvements Google made over the last few months. The update also brings an enhanced content blocker, new DevTools, corrections to a slew of issues with malfunctioning clicks, fixes for a slew of white pages, a new night mode (which uses Android’s dark theme system and Chrome’s “Force Dark Mode for Web Contents”), and a new notification management system.
Because the update is based on the latest Chromium version, though, the legacy vertical tab switcher has been completely removed from the codebase. The Kiwi dev added their own vertical tab switcher option in Settings for those who totally hate the new tab system, but do note that it’s not a 1:1 replacement.
You can check out the latest update to Kiwi Browser on the Google Play Store right now. The Play Store version is only 49MB in size as the developer tells us he’s switched to the new delivery mechanism, but if you grab the update from another source, it’ll be over 150MB in size.