Ericsson claims iOS first for Bowser WebRTC browser

Ericsson's research and development (R&D) division said it has released the only WebRTC browser for iOS, as it revealed it is making the browser open source to boost development.

The Sweden-headquartered company's Ericsson Research unit said it is unleashing its Bowser WebRTC browser and its underlying OpenWebRTC framework to the open community to accelerate innovation in the standard. WebRTC aims to enable content developers to write real-time multimedia applications covering voice, video, and messaging via the web without the need for plug-ins, downloads, or fresh software installations.

Stefan Ålund, research manager at Ericsson Research, said the company is also responding to customer demand by releasing Bowser. "Ever since releasing Bowser to the public in 2012 we have been asked to share our implementation," he said.

The vendor said it will incorporate developments made by the open community into future versions of Bowser as part of its open source commitment. Ericsson has also submitted Bowser to Apple's App Store, and will offer the browser as a free download to iOS users.

An Ericsson statement explains that the company developed the OpenWebRTC framework to account for developments that will take the WebRTC standard beyond the pure browser environment. The vendor also predicts that native applications--those that utilise common protocols and APIs--will become an important part of the WebRTC ecosystem, particularly on mobile platforms where native applications are often preferred over web apps.

"The WebRTC standard is still evolving and developers are finding news [sic] ways of using the technology every day," Ålund explained, adding: "Our engineers have built OpenWebRTC in a way that makes it super-simple to modify and extend, leaving room for even more experimentation with APIs and new features."

In a related blog post, Ålund noted that native OpenWebRTC applications "can either talk to other native apps or browsers that support WebRTC," and can "also provide the WebRTC-backend to web browsers, such as Bowser. Bowser is in fact a very thin layer of UI code on top of OpenWebRTC."

For more:
- see Ericsson's Bowser statement
- read Ålund's blog post

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