Microsoft surprised many when it decided that was going to abandon its homegrown EdgeHTML rendering engine for Edge in favor of Google Chromium. The move particularly incensed Firefox developer Mozilla, which said that Microsoft was “officially giving up” and conceding to Google.
In the four months since that initial announcement, we’ve learned more about the “new” Microsoft Edge browser, and early test builds of the browser have even leaked to the internet in recent weeks. Now, the company has opened up its official Microsoft Edge Insider Channel for those that want to legitimately test the new browser. Microsoft Edge is currently available on both Dev and Canary channels.
For those that aren’t familiar with Chromium-browser release schedules, the Canary channel is updated on a daily basis, always giving you the most up-to-date version of the browser. The Dev channel is updated on a weekly basis, and for the most part is more stable than Canary. Finally, the beta channel is the most stable of the three and will likely provide the best experience for testers. At this point, Microsoft is only saying that the Beta channel is “coming soon,” while the Stable channel will arrive some time in the future.
It should be noted that even in this early state of testing, Microsoft has been working with Google to enable ARM64 support for Always Connected Windows 10 on ARM devices. This support was first implemented with Chromium 73 and is actively in development to further improve performance and battery life on these devices.
Although it’s based on Chromium, Microsoft is baking in a lot of native support for its own services and products into Edge. Bing is or course the default search provider with the browser, and you can sign-in with either your Microsoft Account or Azure Active Directory. Windows Defender SmartScreen is baked in for phishing and malware protection, and there is a new Microsoft News experience integrated into the browser.
“We are committed to building a world class browser with Microsoft Edge through differentiated user experience features and connected services,” writes the Microsoft Edge Team. “With this initial release, we have made a number of changes to the user interface to make our product feel more like Microsoft Edge.
“However, you will continue to see the look and feel of the browser evolve in future releases as we iterate and listen to customer feedback.”
Microsoft Edge (Dev and Canary Channel releases) are currently available for Windows 10, and can be downloaded here. The company says that macOS builds are coming soon.