updated 07:05 pm EDT, Wed September 8, 2010
Boxee browser to drop Firefox for WebKit
Boxee tonight revealed that it's dropping the Firefox-based browser in the Boxee Box and desktop apps will switch to the Apple-made but open WebKit engine instead. Lead Apps Developer Rob Spectre told NewTeeVee that Boxee wanted to guarantee HTML5 support. Firefox's Gecko engine has rudimentary HTML5 support, but it doesn't work well within the Boxee client.
It also provided a consistent experience across mobile and the desktop, which Boxee couldn't ignore. "It absolutely should be the future for the browsers you use on your TV," Spectre said.
The WebKit makeover should be ready in time for when the Boxee Box ships in November, for $200. Clients for the Mac and other desktop platforms will get the new framework once the app reaches 1.0, which should be shortly after the hardware is available.
Boxee's choice is a minor but symbolic loss for Adobe, which has been trying to push Flash on non-PC hardware and had its largest win this spring with promises of support for Google TV. YouTube and others have said that Flash is still important for sites that need copy protection, but they have also gone so far as to extend HTML5 support when possible. Apple has been one of the strongest proponents of HTML5 and is often credited with having one of the more accurate implementations before the standard is finished.