The Bizarre Browser Bazaar

Browser Bazaar, Browser Bizarre, Browser Bazaar – one can hear the hawker touting full-lunged at the amazing  and bizarre things happening in the browser marketplace in the past few weeks.


Surprise, surprise it is Chrome not Firefox that displaces IE as the number one browser in use Worldwide on the Internet. But Firefox contributed mightily by stopping its skid and gaining market share to 25% while all versions of IE are at 32 and Chrome at a notch above 32%. Who would have thought that Chrome would finally displace the worst package of browsers, IE6/7/8/9/10, from top spot? If Bill and Steve had kept to their promised yearly IE update schedule and had forcibly retired IE6/7/8 this would be a different story.

Huzzah Huzzah – Yahoo enters the browser game.  It is almost a case of the walking dead getting involved in the brutal, fast-paced browser wars. What is up?

And the consensus is that this iPad and iPhone browser [plugin in the case of  desktop browsers], shows real promise. Instead of a text list of sites like what Google and IE Bing deliver, Axis shows thumbnails for the top ranked websites returned in a query. This makes it easier for the browser user to make the transition to the most interesting website. Axis is designed to be a  mobile browser primarily with Android and Windows Phone versions on tap and plugins for the Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers.  The expectation is that the Axis thumbnails will be a winning feature that the other browser vendors will imitate but Yahoo Axis will have the advantage of being the first to the game.

Rumor, Rumor, Rumor, stupid RumorsFacebook to acquire Opera browser is the latest rumor that is circulating among the second tier of IT websites. I will believe it when AllthingsD.com or theVerge.com confirms the rumors. Mark Zuckerberg, despite aflawed IPO, is now flush with cash in market he considers to be super-dynamic – or so the story goes. Facebook is just an app in the mobile space where there is less display space and less control for Facebook. Opera certainly has prowess in mobile software development – have one of the first and still highly regarded mobile browsers. Also Opera has gesture devlopments and patents that also could prove valuable as the Steve Jobs tripped off patent wars have spread ever wider. But as Mark well knows, there are plenty of advisors around to tell you how to spend your newly gleaned Fortunes.

The new reigning Desktop Browser Champion for implementation of HTML5 is ..[drumroll]… Maxthon 3.3.7!???

Who Dat? Maxthon is from a Chinese company based in Beijing who have also turned out a)a very fast browser and b) a feature laden browser that beats Chrome and all the rest of the top 5 browsers by a wide margin in the respected HTML5test.com series of HTML5 benchmarks. Equally important is a gob of features that few of the big 5 browsers have. We shall have a review devoted to benchmarking the browser in the upcoming weeks to see how solid the following numbers are:

Summary

If our Bizarre Bazaar is any indicator, Browsers have become popular again. And why not? The Cloud and always connected is the current mantra – and a browser will be the preferred intermediary vehicle. Second, HTML5 and JavaScript are becoming the last vestiges of cross platform development tools as Apple deprecates Java on Mac  and outright along with Flash on iOS. Microsoft, not to be out-proprietized is doing the deprecation thing in Windows Phone and possibly Windows 8 RT to the same two victims. C++ libraries are starting to diverge again. Browsers are becoming the last and still very weak refuge for cross platform development despite an outbreak of very good JavaScript UI Frameworks[try developing browser/HTML5 apps with online/offline operations plus touch and gestures and a SQL Database to see what I mean]. Finally, the JavaScript engines are not quite up to Java HotSpot speed but that may be a good thing – meaning there is still room for improvement.

In short expect more appearances in our Browser Bizarre in the coming weeks … oh I think I have one already – Windows 8/RT Metro will only allow IE, no Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox…