Microsoft's Edge browser, which was released today on Android, was never marketed as being 100% new. Microsoft had made it public beforehand that the browser would be based on the Chromium WebView platform. However, what we were not previously aware of, which was discovered today, was that the device is a full-fledged fork of Chromium for Android.
The discovery, which was made by CopperheadOS on Twitter, demonstrates that the browser is an exact clone or fork of the existing Chromium browser platform, with a few of Microsoft's own additions. In this respect, it is similar to Brave, another Chromium fork for Android that adds additional functionality such as ad blocking, tracking protection and battery and data optimisation improvements.
Microsoft Edge on Android adds a slew of features to the Chromium platform that are more centric to their ecosystem; such as synchronization with your Microsoft account for bookmarks, favourites, and Continue on PC (think Handoff but for Microsoft Edge on PC).
While we were aware that it would use the Chromium WebView engine, we were not aware that it would be a complete fork of an existing platform, and in that respect, we are somewhat surprised that Microsoft is taking this approach. This throws some doubt into the mix with respect to Microsoft's commitment to supporting Android, as they have clearly not made a large investment in active development for this browser. This is not the first time Microsoft had done so either; their Outlook app on Android is merely a reskin and rebranding of Acompli, an email app they acquired in 2014. This is something that may be a cause for concern to many Microsoft fans on Android, especially after the axing of Windows 10 Mobile
What do you guys think? Is forking Chromium a good idea or should Microsoft have gone with their own engine? Let us know what you think in the comments, or post over in the forums.