Ericsson releases browser for Web-app calls

25 Oct 2012

ITEM: The world’s first mobile browser that supports voice and video calls within Web-based apps is now available for iPhones, iPads and Android-based devices.

And it’s from Ericsson.

It’s called Bowser, and it’s based on the WebRTC (real-time communication) spec currently being developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) as part of HTML5.

According to Ericsson, Bowser is intended as an experimental browser rather than a commercial product, allowing apps developers to play with WebRTC and provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t.

One unresolved issue with WebRTC is how to exchange encryption keys and the choice of video codec: H.264 or VP8.

According to Daniel Enström, multimedia technologies director at Ericsson, Bowser supports the former, ComputerWorld Hong Kong reports:

"There are already a ton of H.264 implementations, and there is also a well-defined licensing model and many hardware platforms already have integrated support for the codec," said Enström.

But not everyone agrees that is the right choice. A WebRTC project hosted by Google makes no mention of H.264, and instead highlights the advantages of the royalty-free VP8 codec, which was included in its acquisition of On2 Technologies.

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