Select Page

Naming a new product is always fun.  This was especially true on the Maxthon Nitro web browser project.  As we posted the other day our goals around Nitrous were simple to describe and the opposite to engineer: we wanted to create a stripped-down PC web browser that launched, fetched and loaded pages faster than anything out there.

This wasn’t easy considering that our flagship product, the Maxthon Cloud Browser (Mx4), was already a hair faster than the fastest out there — Google Chrome.   Nonetheless, the team set to it and proceeded to do the impossible. (If you haven’t tried it out yet you can download Nitro here.)  We soon reached the point where we had to come up with a permanent name.

In the early, pre-alpha to early beta stages, our working title for the browser was ‘Maxthon Lightning.’  That’s a good name, but even a cursory search of web browsers out there returned not one but two lightning web browsers already in existence. Both of them are bad and we didn’t want to align with that or add to the confusion.

We kept searching and ended up discovering a trove of poorly-implemented, 3rd and 4th party web browsers that were named after every fast noun or adjective you could think of: animals, electrical things, explosions, etc…etc…etc…

And then one day the perfect name hit us: Nitro. As in nitrous oxide.  Those of you who’ve watched the ‘Fast and Furious’ movies are familiar with what nitrous oxide does to a car’s performance: it speeds up the already fast to go wicked fast.  Here’s how they guys at describe it:

What is Nitrous? Simply put, Nitrous (N2O) creates large amounts of horsepower by creating more oxygen in the engines combustion chamber while simultaneously introducing additional fuel. The added oxygen allows the additional fuel to burn which creates increased horsepower for short bursts of torque and speed.

In applications for vehicle racing, nitrous oxide (often referred to as just “nitrous”) allows the engine to burn more fuel by providing more oxygen than air alone, resulting in a more powerful combustion.

That’s what Maxthon Nitro does — speeds up the already-fast to wicked-fast. The analogue works quite well for the Maxthon Nitro web browser in 4 ways.

Oxygen —> Oxygen is the pre-existing element in automobile combustion, elemental and required. For our browser analogue, oxygen in engines is like a rendering engine (webkit) in web browsers. Just as nitrous oxide pushes a bunch of extra oxygen into the engine, so does the work we’ve done to make webkit faster for Nitro.

New fuel —> In the car context, we’re talking about additional nitrogen.  In the Maxthon Nitro analogue the additional ‘performance fuel’ is the work we’ve done to close and otherwise tighten up and remove background features and processes in the web browser, which results in faster times across the board.

Additional strength —> For cars, the big problem with nitrous is that it adds so MUCH power it can destroy the engine; like blow out cylinder walls or melt pistons.This requires adding more bulk to the engine to enable it to withstand the additional explosive force. In the Maxthon Nitro analogue the ‘additional strength’ comes in the form of our team doing much, much more to engineer stability into the Nitro browser. It has the lowest crash rate of any of our PC browsers.

So what’s the fourth way? It is in the relationship nitrous oxide has to a car engine.  Nitrous oxide is a unique and out-of-the-box way to generate massive horsepower without fundamentally changing how a combustion engine works.  That’s very analogous to how we approached Maxthon Nitro. We didn’t fundamentally change the architecture of the web browser — just found out of the box ways to make it go faster.

All in all, it’s a great name for an even greater product. Hope you like it. 🙂