October 6, 2017 // 12:13 p.m.
Microsoft's desire to fight back in the browser wars, which have seen it drop to a roughly one-fifth share of the market, have intensified with the news that its Edge browser is coming to Android and iOS devices.
Launched as part of Windows 10 and designed to replace the ageing Internet Explorer, Microsoft's Edge browser has not been an unalloyed success. Despite some neat features and support for a small number of popular extensions and add-ons, its share of the browser market as tracked by NetMarketShare currently sits at around five percent - below the 14 percent of its predecessor Internet Explorer and massively below Google Chrome's majority 59 percent slice of the pie.
Microsoft's answer is a version of Edge designed for Android and iOS mobile devices, designed to integrate with its desktop equivalent just like Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. 'One of the most common requests we hear from people who use Microsoft Edge on Windows 10 PCs is “we want our browser experience to move to our phones”. You spoke, we listened,' claims Microsoft's Joe Belfiore in the company's announcement. 'Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android brings familiar features like your Favourites, Reading List, New Tab Page and Reading View across your PC and phone, so, no matter the device, your browsing goes with you. But what makes Microsoft Edge really stand out is the ability to continue on your PC, which enables you to immediately open the page you’re looking at right on your PC—or save it to work on later.'
The launch is limited in scope for now, however. Microsoft is allowing users to test the iOS version via Apple's TestFlight platform now while promising that the Android release 'will be available soon.' Those interested in using either version can sign up now.
At the same time, Microsoft has announced the re-release of its Arrow Launcher for Android under a new brand: Microsoft Launcher. 'We think it’s the most beautiful (based on Fluent design), customizable, powerful launcher available. With Microsoft Launcher, your recent photos, documents and more can all Continue on PC as well,' adds Belfiore. 'And – just like on Windows 10 – with Microsoft Launcher you can put icons of your favourite people right on the home screen so they’re quickly and easily available.
The Microsoft Launcher, which is again in preview status, is available now for Android devices.