Is Apple opening iPhone to new browsers?

Newly approved browser apps expand options, may show change in policy

Engadget is reporting as an update, as is Macworld, but without attribution, that only Web browsers based on the WebKit application framework will be approved by Apple. WebKit originally was developed by Apple, and now is open source code

used as the foundation for an array of browsers besides Safari: Google Chrome, the browser with the Android operating system, and the highly regarded Nokia browser on Symbian-based smartphones.

If full browsers are being permitted, but limited to those based on WebKit, then it would close the door to Mozilla's Firefox for Mobile, now in alpha release, which is based on desktop Firefox's Gecko rendering engine, and possibly both the Opera Mobile and Opera Mini browsers, based on Opera Software's own code.

MacRumors.com identified four new applications in the browsing category. Arron Hirst, editor-in-chief of Razorianfly.com, a Website focused on Apple's App Store and its software offerings, also has posted a quick hands-on assessment of all four.

Edge Browser, which frees up screen space apparently by eliminating or hiding the address and navigation bars. The statement "See your Web page or web app in a full screen Safari Browser" suggests this is a plug-in to Safari. The developer is listed as Mobile Productivity, whose main product appears to be suite of applications for auto dealerships.

Razorianfly: "Great, it's fullscreen!! ..However, it's pointless without tabs."

Incognito, a browser that automatically erases your entire Web session when you close it; (US$1.99).

Razorianfly: "If you want to keep your pages a secret, then this is for you. Otherwise you don't really need it. Having said that, Incognito does seem to have speed on its side..."

WebMate, which mimics tabbed browsing by queuing up the links you click on, so you can view them one by one, by hitting an arrow, instead of hitting your "back" button and waiting for screens to reload; US99 cents.

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John Cox

Network World
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