updated 11:12 am EST, Thu November 21, 2013
Tablet, smartphone makers must license browser or make their own
Smartphone and tablet manufacturers hoping to use the latest version of Android in their product will not receive a browser as part of the mobile operating system. Instead, mobile device producers will be forced to either license Chrome from Google or build their own browser for customers to use straight from the box.
Android developer Maximiliano Firtman revealed on Twitter that he had received an official confirmation from Google, reports Unwired View. Android Kitkat, version 4.4, as well as future iterations of the operating system will not ship with Chrome built-in, with OEMs having to pay Google for a license, just as already occurs for the Google Apps collection. Manufacturers will be able to include their own browser, something that companies such as Samsung could create using WebView, a function within Android itself.
The lack of a browser introduces an opportunity for other developers to offer their own version to manufacturers, such as Opera or Firefox. The move will also not affect mobile users, who will still be able to install browsers through Google Play after purchase.