What browser runs on Android? Is it Chrome or a modified version of it?


6 Answers 6


The default browser is, as far as I can make out, simply called 'Browser', and is based on the WebKit rendering engine. Android 2.2 and above use the V8 javascript engine. The combination of WebKit and V8 makes the browser very similar to desktop Chrome.


The web browser utilizes WebKit for rendering. WebKit was originally forked by Apple from the KHTML rendering engine, which powers the Konqueror web browser/file manager. The WebKit engine has been open source from the beginning and is used in many browsers including Apple Safari, Google Chrome, and a few other smaller browsers.

The Android Browser's Javascript engine is Google's V8 engine, which is also used in Chrome.

However, while Chromium is the open-sourced code base from which Google Chrome is derived, I believe the Android browser has its own codebase. I do not think the Android browser derives from Chromium, which contains code for integrating with window management, tabbing, extensions, and many other features that are well-suited for a desktop experience.

Browsing on a mobile phone is a different experience and I believe that the Google Android Browser application is NOT derived from the Chromium code base directly, though it does implement components that are built into Chromium as well.

  • 1
    indeed, the android browser & chrome are both based on webkit (or more specically the webcore rendering engine) but were developed seperately. With android 2.2 the browser switched to the v8 javascript engine that was developed for chrome.
    – futtta
    Aug 24, 2010 at 12:04

The default browser is based on WebKit (the same as Chrome). It also has the same V8 Javascript engine. So I would say Android's default browser is a modified version of Chrome.


Every version of Android has an "Android browser" that is basically a cut of the open-source Chromium browser. For example, the Android Browser that lives in the AOSP v4.4 (KitKat) is based on the same code as Chrome v30.0.0. Applications that use WebViews use this Android Browser (not the user's default browser).

Date API Version Android version Codename WebKit
2009-04-30 3 1.5 Cupcake 528.5
2009-09-15 4 1.6 Donut 528.5
2009-09-26 5 2.0 Eclair 530.17
2009-12-03 6 2.0.1 Eclair 530.17
2010-01-12 7 2.1 Eclair 530.17
2010-05-20 8 2.2 Froyo 533.1
2010-12-06 9 2.3 Gingerbread ?
2011-02-09 10 2.3.3 Gingerbread 533.1
2011-02-22 11 3.0 Honeycomb 534.13
2011-05-10 12 3.1 Honeycomb 534.13
2011-07-15 13 3.2 Honeycomb 534.13
2011-10-19 14 4.0 Ice cream sandwich 534.30
2011-12-16 15 4.0.3 Ice cream sandwich 534.30
2012-07-09 16 4.1 Jellybean 534.30
2012-11-13 17 4.2 Jellybean 534.30
2013-07-24 18 4.3 Jellybean 534.30
2013-07-24 19 4.4 KitKat 537.36

Original table

https://developer.chrome.com/multidevice/webview/overview https://decadecity.net/blog/2013/11/21/android-browser-versions


It is an Android version of Chromium, which is what Google built on top of WebKit. The browser we call Chrome is built on top of Chromium with separate versions for Windows, OS X, and Linux.

Some functionality was removed or slimmed down for the Android version.

It's similar to Safari and Mobile Safari in the sense that many of those apps' codes are WebKit, and on top of WebKit, there's similar/identical code between the two, but they also have many parts of the code that are completely different.

Google was just up for Open Sourcing Chromium




You have:

  • Opera Mini
  • Firefox 4 Beta version (the newest)
  • Skyfire (great one, and fast)
  • Dolphin Browser.

All of them with pros and cons.

You have them in the Android Market.

  • 2
    Thanks Lordinario, however, I what I meant was default browser.
    – Francisc
    Jan 2, 2011 at 0:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .