Android 4.4+ KitKat ships without browser app. OEMs have to license Chrome or build their own
Interesting newsbit about Android 4.4 KitKat just popped-up on Twitter today.
According to Android developer and author Maximiliano Firtman, he just got official confirmation that KitKat “… doesn’t ship with any browser, just the WebView. The emulator has it but not real devices. It’s up to each vendor to create a browser app using the WebView (such as Samsung) or to get license to preinstall Chrome.”
So, what does it mean for Android device users? Probably not much.
Most OEMs license full Google Apps suite for their smartphones and tablets, and they take Google’s Chrome for Android or the stock browser, as well. And those who do not, like Amazon, are perfectly able and ready to build their own browser apps too.
The decision to ship open source part of Android without a browser is probably another part of Google’s strategy to take back the control of Android. But it may also give an opening for other browser makers such as Firefox.
Update: Yes, it is an option for OEMs to use the old stock AOSP Android browser. Just like there’s an option to use old Gmail, GCal , GSearch, etc; You are always welcome to stay with Android 4.2 or 2.2 apps, when we move on to Android 6.x with fully licensed Google Play stuff…