WebRTC Expert Feature

July 23, 2013

Chrome 29 Beta Meets Anticipation with WebRTC for Android

At the recent WebRTC Conference in Atlanta, the lack of true mobile WebRTC integration was identified as one of the major barriers to the growth of WebRTC. It was correctly identified that the lack of mobile support is a major potential barrier to adoption. The forecasts of a billion WebRTC devices by the end of 2013 include a large number of mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. While Ericsson showed its "Bowser" implementation, so far WebRTC has been limited to PCs and the Chrome and Firefox browsers. So we have all been waiting for the mobile path to emerge.

Google recently announced the beta release of Chrome 29, which includes support for WebRTC on Android devices running Chrome. With Chrome release 29, Google has built in WebRTC voice, video and data channel services in all Android devices. This is a move that has been anticipated for some time, but it is great to see the industry move forward. Personally, I have been deciding whether to replace or upgrade my old iPhone. Now, having WebRTC and the plethora of new capabilities it opens on an Android device is probably a decision maker for me, and I assume for many others soon.

Image via Developer Tech

Beyond the integration of WebRTC support, Chrome 29 includes enhanced support for the Web Audio API, though limited to smartphone/tablet ARM devices that support the NEON optimization capability, designed to use certain instructions on ARM chips that was introduced in the ARM Cortex-A8 processor.  It also includes some new features for packaged apps.

In the path of moving WebRTC to the mainstream, the introduction of WebRTC in Android smartphones and tablets was a critical step. With this technology delivery, the real impact of WebRTC can begin to be felt. With 75 percent of the smartphones shipped in Q1 2013 being Android, a total of 156 million devices per Gartner, immediately WebRTC is in the hands of the majority of new device adopters. Even without any further quarter-on-quarter growth, that means more than 600 million Android devices in 2013, or with some growth, more like 700-800M million Android devices shipped this year. And they should all be WebRTC ready by the end of the year. BlackBerry has discussed having WebRTC support, the question is when will Apple and Microsoft get on the bandwagon?

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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