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Is Amazon's Silk Browser Really So Revolutionary?

Yesterday, Amazon proclaimed the Silk browser on the Kindle Fire tablet to be a revolutionary new innovation in tablet browsing. "Browsers have been built more or less the same for the last 20 or so years, without a whole lot of new architectural approaches," said Jon Jenkins, director of software development for Amazon Silk. "And so we stopped, and stepped back, and took a fundamentally different look at a Web browser, of how you would build a Web browser in the era of cloud computing."

What is Silk? It's a split browser, where the same functions are replicated on both the Kindle Fire, as well as the server. Silk then decides which functions – like networking, HTML, CSS, Javascript and others – get rendered on the tablet, and which are rendered on the server. In essence, the program collaborates with a cloud that remembers your browsing history so only new elements on the page have to be loaded. Because oft-loaded page elements are aggressively pre-cached, they can be very quickly downloaded to the tablet at the right time.

It's a great idea – but Amazon wasn't the first to come up with it. According to Mahi de Silva, executive vice preisdent of Consumer Mobile at Opera Software ASA, the whole idea of cloud browsing optimized for mobile devices is already in play in several Opera products today. Opera Mini applies this compression feature to most interactions.

In all, Opera already does the sort of cloud optimization that Amazon claims to have invented.


Liveblogging the Amazon Tablet Press Conference

Amazon Fire's Game-Changing Strategy

Source: Ars Technica

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