So Google is shipping Kitkat without a web browser…

Android 4.4+ KitKat ships without browser app. OEMs have to license Chrome or build their own

“According to Android developer and author Maximiliano Firtman, he just got official confirmation that KitKat “… doesn’t ship with any browser, just the WebView. The emulator has it but not real devices. It’s up to each vendor to create a browser app using the WebView (such as Samsung) or to get license to preinstall Chrome.” -

What the article doesn’t mention is google plans to auto-update the Chromium-powered WebView, by-passing manufactures. This means Google’s apps and app devs can continually run the latest and greatest even if a device is isolated to Android 4.4 hell years later.

The big news for us web devs is the Chromium WebView finally supports remote debugging

As a developer, you can count on most manufactures licensing the Google Web suite and your WebView apps will always have access to the latest and greatest.

Its Google’s round-about way to regain some of the control lost on Android and to attack the problem of fragmentation. I’ve been a bigger fan of iOS development strictly from a front end developer’s point-of-view as iOS users are much more likely to update and the Nitro Javascript engine still   triumphs Google’s V8 in speed.

That said, I’ll take an auto-updated webview over speed at this point.