[Update 3: In Stable] Microsoft is working on a Chromium-based browser to replace Edge
Microsoft Edge was released as part of Windows 10 way back in 2015 and was the spiritual successor to the ever-infamous Internet Explorer. Without the likes of ActiveX or Browser Helper Objects, it aimed to be a much more lightweight internet browsing solution. It certainly was universally more liked than Internet Explorer, with Microsoft Edge even making its way to Android and iOS. Now, according to a report from WindowsCentral, it’s possible that Microsoft may be dropping support for Edge entirely, replacing it with a Chromium-based browser instead.
It is unknown if the company’s branding will change, or if they will keep the name “Edge” or not. There’s only one thing that’s for certain, according to the report, and that is that Edge as we know it is dead. It will utilize the Blink rendering engine which powers Google Chrome. The new browser id codenamed “Anaheim,” and it is also unknown if it will share the same UI or not. According to the report, we should see Anaheim introduced in the 19H1 development cycle, which Insiders will soon be testing in the Fast ring. The 19H1 update is scheduled to be released in April 2019, with development only starting in the last month or so. Being a part of the Fast ring means that you get updates approximately every two weeks, which can be extremely buggy. It’s not usually recommended to join the Fast ring of the Insider program if you rely on your computer to work without any issues.
So what do you think? Could a Chromium-based browser which comes with Windows as a default browser get your attention? I’m sure many will still choose to stick with their browser of choice, but it will be great to see if Microsoft can finally compete with the likes of Google, Mozilla, and Opera. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a browser created by Microsoft hold any significant market share, but that could well be set to change in the future.
Update 1: Microsoft Confirms
Microsoft is indeed rebuilding Edge using Chromium. They shared a few more details on their official blog. The browser will still be called Edge, which means there won’t be a huge change for most users. The new Edge will replace the old Edge as the default browser in Windows 10.
One big change for Windows users is the new Edge won’t be a Universal Windows Platform app. This means it will be a standard Win32 desktop app that can finally run on Windows 8 and Windows 7. This is a big change for Microsoft, but it should result in a better browser for everyone.
Update 2: Available now to test
Microsoft has officially made Chromium-based Microsoft Edge available for testing in dev and canary builds. The dev channel will be updated weekly, while the canary channel will receive daily updates. Neither should be used as your daily browser at this point. The beta channel is listed as “Coming Soon.” Try out Chromium Edge for Windows 10 by visiting the Insider website.
Update 3: In Stable
After over a year of testing, Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser is finally available to the public as a stable version. Microsoft is targeting enterprise users at first, but anyone is free to download the browser. Windows 10 users will be automatically updated to this version in the coming months, which will replace the existing Edge browser. OEMs are getting their first crack at the browser today as well, so we should see it new computers launch with it pre-installed. As mentioned in the previous update, this initial version does not include history sync or extension sync. Those features will be available sometime later this year.