Google released Chrome 89 recently with much promise made about improved memory and system resource efficiency. It also has appeared that things have calmed down regarding manifest v3 regarding extensions – personally I would like to see Google maintain manifest v2 for those who wish to side load extensions (maybe adopt a ‘notarisation’ like how Apple does with applications sold outside of the App Store for Mac) and have the manifest v3 a requirement for those extensions that developers wish to distribute through the Chrome extensions store. The reasoning behind the change is that apparently it is more secure and more efficient – to be blunt I’ve never had performance issues and to be quite frank the security issues aren’t helped when people just install any old random extension without first finding out who made it. Ultimately I think most content blockers are going to adopt the new manifest standard but it does rub me the wrong way that power users are hamstrung by a company insisting on protecting users from themselves.

Anyway, back to Chrome – so far it has been running pretty reliably and the promises of greater efficiency have definitely lived up to the promise as I’ve checked the system monitor and even with 4K video playback th utilisation is in the low single digits. I tend to swap between Safari and Chrome – Safari being the super efficient but extensions are very much limited when compared to the depth and breadth available on Chrome. With Chrome, the way in which Google is positioning the browser I think it would be fairer to view it as a runtime engine when you consider the comprehensive nature of Google’s implementation of HTML5 technologies (those technologies that have become commonly associated the modern web) when compared to Apple that restricts (for a variety of reasons) what technologies are implemented in Safari (aka, if you can’t do it in a browser then you’re not using the right tool for the job – you should be writing a native application).

Apple has released another round of updates – personally I would like to see Apple take as long as they need to ensure that when it is released that as many bug fixes are included particularly around Safari and the regressions that I’ve observed since moving up to Big Sur. AdGuard Safari Extension is developing quickly although the next version isn’t going to be Apple Silicon compliant since it will require them upgrading the version of Electron that underpins their app but an Apple Silicon version has only just become available (too far along in the development cycle to upgrade Electron).

Samsung has scheduled for 18 March a product launch and a week after that there is the rumour of an Apple event where there will be Apple Silicon based Macs being launched along with a refresh of the iPad range and a few other bits and pieces. While the fabrication factories are struggling to keep up with demand, Apple was smart enough to reserve a large amount of capacity with TSMC. When it comes to Samsung, the interesting part will next year with the announcement of the Exynos SoC that’ll include the AMD GPU to replace the current Mali GPU from ARM – die shrink and performance improvement along with the protracted cutting off of Huawei from the Google Play Store ecosystem will allow Samsung to gain back Android market share. It’ll be interesting to see where the Google Pixel will be now that the 5G modem is now integrated into the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 where as on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 has the 5G modem as a separate chip so hopefully we’ll see a Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 XL with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888.

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