Microsoft Edge extensions on phone only a 'long-term goal' for now

Microsoft Edge aka the Project Spartan browser is due to launch with Windows 10 later this summer. Post-release, it will receive support for third-party extensions later in the year. Developers can easily port over existing extensions from Firefox or Chrome, making Edge a very powerful option for many users.

The question lends itself to asking about Windows Phone. After all, Microsoft Edge is a universal Windows app, so extension support would seem highly likely. However, as it turns out, it is rather nuanced.

In a Q&A #AskMSEdge on Twitter held yesterday, the Microsoft Edge Dev team answered user questions about the new browser. One of the inquired about extensions coming to phone, and this was the team's response:

"It is a long term goal but initial release will be PC only. More constraints like UI real estate, memory, power."

Indeed, extensions are known to use more resources, even on PC where users can add dozens to their browser, weighing it down with even more processes. On a desktop PC though, this is mostly a non-issue when users can have 16 GB of RAM, dedicated GPUs, and high-end multi-core processors. Not to mention dedicated AC power.

On a phone though, all of those things are severely limited. How you reconcile that is the challenge Microsoft is facing, and it will be interesting to see the choices they make in the coming months.

For now though, just know that yes, extensions are planned for the phone. Just do not bet on seeing them anytime soon, possibly not until 2016.

Source: Twitter (@MSEdgeDev)

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • At least the address bar at the bottom is still considered. Actually during the Q&A the answer about extensios was a little more optimistic.
  • At least
  • Omg just make that feature optional....
  • Lol. You know what's another long term goal is? Releasing an update for the preview
  • I'm very sceptical about releasing more features later. In my opinion it would be very important this time to release a fully finished OS with nothing missing that will be added later. Of course there should be updates later, but all the features Microsoft talks about now, should be included. Otherwise everyone will complain again, especially the press.
  • I can live with that. If they partner with lastpass that worked be nice.
  • The LastPass/Samsung duo on the Galaxy S6 is super nice. Works pretty much everywhere in the OS and it even ties into the fingerprint reader. Really hope something similar happens in Windows 10.
  • Microsoft Passport 2.0? :P
  • That sounds amazing. We need a work with Lastpass user voice!
  • Yup, I want the password managers to become integrated into edge browser like that. Will save you a ton of time.
  • This is the only plug in I care about. Probably only major android feature I miss.
  • This is my big one too... would be nice to have adblock as well but its not crucial like lastpass is.
  • Wont be hard...probably use skype codding within...
  • All I'm worried about is InPrivate Tabs, you know, research purposes :p
  • Worried why?
  • Bringing out the real Spartan,if you know what I mean ;)
  • LOL
  • Hahaha good one! xD
  • You can rest assured that inPrivate tabs are coming :P  
  • I know about that research . :P
  • FINALLY some WP news. Stinks it's not about a new build :(
    But I'll take what I can get.
  • Yeah.. keep getting my heart crushed thinking "It's definitely coming today" every day.. xD  At least Microsoft knows they've got us excited.  
  • I'm already crushed.
    "Its coming end of April" NOPE
    "Early next week" NOPE
    Jeez :'(
  • I wish they would add text to those icons in the browser. I have no idea what does what (except for the obvious ones). 
  • Does any other mobile browser offer this (or plan to)??
  • Nope.
  • Firefox on Android has extensions.
  • UB Browser too, on android
  • Safari and Chrome on iOS both offer extensions of a sort.
  • Dani if you put the picture don't put the same message again :P. Good article. I'm actually very eager for Edge since I really like IE but lacks some key features I love from Firefox/Chrome. 
  • Everything concerning Windows Phone is a long term goal.
  • They need to make a super high end exotic a short term goal.... Then having things like extension support wouldn't be an issue..
    4GB ram
    5000 MAH battery.... Problem solved... Sell it for $299 on contract, and I'll buy it...
  • Nope, 16GB RAM, GeForce GTX 980, Intel i7 Extreme, 45000mAh battery, all in a 4.5" screen and I'll buy it, even if it's £1250.
  • Ok... Let's do it❗
  • Yeah yeah yeah.. 2017
  • All that talk about universal app experience for NOTHING.
  • Not really. But making extensions work and implementing them in a right way is much harder. On the browser you much more real estate to work with you can as a users to to the extension settings without compromising the browsing experience. But on mobile things are limited naturally by size and user experiences.
  • All I'm asking for is - Adblock.
  • +1 billion !
  • Wait, do other mobile browsers have extension support?
  • Firefox on Android does.
  • Safari and Chrome on iOS do.
  • Why don't leave the user choices? If he turned they on he will be also smart enough to disable them if something goes wrong. Microsoft should worry just about the UI.
  • Not that simple I think. They would have to worry about having the structure inside the browser to run even just one extension and this single extension may require more resources than the phone could ever bring. Its not about the UI then. Besides, in regards Microsoft, people would often blame the whole OS when some application (app, extension, website, for the regular user is all just the same) doesn't work. My other suggestion would be flag those extensions which require high level of resources and just make them PC-only. The same way is not every app is runnable on this or that device depending on the resources.
  • "My other suggestion would be flag those extensions which require high level of resources and just make them PC-only." Good idea. Only problem it is too late now. We all know MS track records, so maybe (I mean not even granted for) windows 11.
  • So extensions will be in the store, right? Maybe when the developer submits the extension have them check PC only or PC + Phone, and if they select phone it goes through a much more ridged certification process. The process could determine CPU and memory costs so the user could make an informed decision on whether to install it or not.
  • I only want one extension which is ad block. Build this in and cut Google's revenue at the same time!
  • IE11 has tracking protection lists, which can be used as an integrated method of blocking ads when using the EasyList TPL from adblock. Really hoping TPLs are added to Edge before launch. I set these up first thing when getting a new PC or setting one up for someone else. ​ ​
  • And Windows Central revenue as well. Windows Central web page is the reason why I install Adblock. Without it is the browsing experience on this site horrible.
  • I would rather see tracking protection anyhow. Main thing I ever used extensions for way back when I used Google Chrome was adblock, and while a little more extensive than TPLs, I find them better over all as they are a lightweight, integrated method of blocking advertisements as opposed to an extension that consumes extra resources. I even found the fanboy social component blocking (which last I checked was in adblock) in TPL form, so now I do not worry about embedded sharing extensions which decrease the page load times and overlap content. It is still nice to see that they are considering mobile extensions though.
  • *increase I love how Windows Central's comment system works poorly with Windows. especially Windows Phone. Currently the edit button will not respond to touch input.
  • On my (I hope still not so crappy 2012 HW) L920 it takes at least(!) 20-30 seconds for the page to realize that I have pressed my finger hard deep down into the display glass (with strong force) at the region of the COMMENT button, so it starts working on the procedure to display the HTML comment edit GUI. As convoluted I explained it above, it feels for my phone to sweat out that page rendering. I hope the guy (gurl?) who coded this "mobile-friendly webpage" (HAHA, sarcasm here) was sentenced to use an underclocked Lumia 520 for his/her remaining life to browse his/her own product. You may not realize, but thats actually a cruel punishment.. try it yourself if you dont believe it to me.
  • @ricsip, why not use the windows central app? Much better experience :).
  • The one on Windows phone doesn't work with all the articles anymore and commenting could use some work. On PC I can't keep it from force closing. Strangely on this android tab I have the best experience with the win central aside from the crappy keyboard on android, such a pain without word flow. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I can live with that. I don't really need extension on phones. But, I need better web page rendering more than extensions. I hope the new Edge browser will not be a disappointment.
  • Please bring them after you release the desktop version. Then work in the already missing extensions features. At that point I would look forward to an MS browser.
  • Yet another step towards my return to Android.
  • I only use Adblocker and IDM. (I regret nothing about people who make a living off ads)
  • I just want adblock for Edge. Both in PC & Phone.
  • It is time for "Universal" Extensions. The next evolution.
  • ıf Edge is updated through app updates, then it more likely to happen in the first half of 2016.
  • I think that adblock will only make the experience lighter and snappier!
  • I guess worse than not having extensions is that Edge won't even come with Sync when Windows 10 launches. Sync feature  "is planned for a future update".
  • We need AdBlock Plus on our phones!!!!!!!
  • Well, better later then never. But honestly we need adblock ASAP. In one of the worst sites to visit on my phone happens to be windowscentral because of the way you try and force and ad and only make it closeable by scrolling down, which somehow ends up being impossible to do.
  • If they just make Edge available for Androd with similar featureset of Chrome, including all the following, then I would proudly switch to it: - great support for multi-tab browsing - keeping history of typed text in the cache so that in case a tab refreshes text isn't lost - Syncing of bookmarks and tabs between devices - Sending pages from one device to the other and getting notification on the receiving device