Will browser extension support be enough to tempt Android users away from Google Chrome to the welcoming arms of Microsoft Edge? We might soon find out, as it looks like Edge is now prepping extension support for its mobile app.
This comes from some digging into the Edge for Android code by tipster @Leopeva64 (via 9to5Google). For now the functionality is hidden behind a flag in the early testing versions of the app, but it could reach the main app as early as March.
Certain extensions – for switching to dark mode, for blocking ads, and for changing the speed of media playback – are already showing up on a rudimentary extensions page, which is another sign that the feature is launching soon.
From the screenshots that have been posted so far, it looks as though a new Extensions button will be added to the menu that pops up when you tap the three horizontal lines, down in the lower-right corner of the Edge for Android interface.
It will be possible to install extensions in Edge for Android!:https://t.co/18lG5nYyad pic.twitter.com/Sj744tPo6zJanuary 31, 2024
You may well know how useful third-party extensions can be on a desktop browser, adding all kinds of additional tools and features to your browser of choice – from changing the way tabs are arranged, to letting you annotate webpages, to managing website volume.
While there are a huge number of extensions available for Chrome on the desktop, Chrome and other browsers have typically shied away from adding extension support on mobile, for a host of different reasons: the screens are smaller, there are fewer system resources available, the interface is simpler, and so on.
Now though, the situation is changing. Firefox recently reintroduced extension support in its Android app, and now it looks as though Edge will follow suit – in an attempt to try and chip away at Chrome's market share. Chrome is the default on around two-thirds of mobile devices worldwide, though that includes iPhones as well as Android devices.
You won't be able to use all the existing Edge extensions on Android – clearly not all of them will work, and the developers will have to adapt them for the different platform – but watch this space for these add-ons arriving on Microsoft's browser.
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Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.