Calls: Send in your ideas. Deadline April 1, 2024
Grant
Theme fund: NGI Zero Core
Start: 2023-04
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Services + Applications

WPE Android

Embedded-friendly Webview based on WebKit

WPE (Web Platform for Embedded) is a WebKit port for Linux-based embedded devices with a focus on flexibility, security and performance on lower-powered devices. Albeit less known than Chromium, Firefox or Safari, WPE is currently deployed in millions of embedded devices (e.g. set-top-boxes, smart home devices, kitchen appliances, infotainment, etc), but it hasn't yet reached those based on the Android Operating System, which has become an important actor for certain types of devices, such as phones, tablets, set-top-boxes and even IoT devices.

In such environments, the only option currently available to leverage the power of the Web Platform is to use Android's WebView, which is based on Chromium and therefore problematic in cases where using that is not an option. By bringing WPE to Android in the form of an Android WebView-compatible component, we aim not just to make WPE available in more platforms but also to expand the options Android developers currently have so that they can choose between a Chromium-based WebView and a WebKit-based WebView for their applications. This would be great to cover Web rendering needs in general on Android, and particularly beneficial for multimedia-intensive use cases (e.g. set-top-boxes, digital signage...), as well as for other less conventional use cases such as QA & testing (e.g. testing WebKit-based browsers on Android based systems).

Last but not least, as a side effect of widening the reach of WPE to Android-based devices, we believe that we would also be bringing more balance and diversity to the Web, by making sure that developers have a realistic alternative to the Chromium-based Web rendering engine they can use to develop their products.

Run by Igalia

Logo NLnet: abstract logo of four people seen from above Logo NGI Zero: letterlogo shaped like a tag

This project was funded through the NGI0 Core Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 101092990.