The browser wars have seen a strange resurgence in the mobile world, as each platform brings its own-branded browser (Safari for iOS, Chrome for Android, IE for Windows Phone), and competitors see this as a new opportunity to gain more relevance after the desktop arena begins to settle. Mozilla certainly seems to think so as it starts to tease some new features it's currently working on for its Android-based Firefox app.
Much like keyboards (which we covered last week), browsers are a dime a dozen. Google ships one browser with Android (in more recent versions, that's been Chrome), which most manufacturers then replace with their own proprietary version. And then there are the dozens (if not hundreds) of third-party browsers available on the Play Store.
One of the most popular third-party browsers in the Play Store, Dolphin Browser, received a fairly major bump today up to version 9.0. This brings a handful of worthwhile enhancements, including support for the HTML5 rendering engine from Dolphin Beta. In this case, however, the Dolphin team has made the engine an optional addon called Jetpack instead of making it the default. So, basically, making the browser faster on HTML5 sites is optional, for whatever reason.
Google just pushed a small update to its Chrome browser that brings a handful of tweaks and fixes, as well as a couple of enhancements:
- Location preference now integrated to system level Google apps location setting.
- Youtube videos controls now work in full screen mode; videos continue playing after a screen lock/unlock
- Fixes to make third-party IMEs work better with Chrome
It's all pretty much straightforward, but you may be wondering what an IME is.
At the beginning of the month, the Dolphin team released a new version of their popular browser to the Play Store. It featured the normal UI and performance enhancements, but apparently that just wasn't good enough for the Dolphin crew. Today, they have released a public beta of Dolphin Browser that brings some pretty impressive numbers where HTML5 rendering speed is concerned:
The browser wars wage on in the mobile space just as it does on the desktop. Today, Mozilla fires another shot across Chrome's bow with Firefox 14 beta. The update, available in the Play Store, comes complete with a new UI, Flash support, and a bunch of other little improvements.
The new version comes with an updated minimum requirement of Android 2.2 or higher. The new UI shows its Froyo-y heritage, too.
You may remember that TalkLittle's hugely popular Reddit browser, Reddit is Fun, was banned from the Google Play Store about 2 weeks ago for "sexually explicit material," shortly after its substantial update to version 2.0. The banishment of Reddit is Fun caused quite a stir, primarily because Google's decision to ban the app seemed to be based on a vague policy regarding apps that give users the ability to find explicit material.
The mind behind Stick It! and AirCalc has released another innovative app, introducing OverSkreen to the Android Market today. OverSkreen is a floating browser app, allowing users to browse the web on top of just about any app and move, resize, or close browser panes at will.
OverSkreen may seem too good to be true, but the browser has a robust set of functions. OverSkreen supports Adobe Flash (on devices running Android 3.0+), system-wide bookmarks, multiple instances (panes), various user agents, and "suggest-while-typing" URL bar.
The stock ICS is browser is the best stock Android browser to date, there's no doubt about that. However, it's not perfect - it's actually missing one crucial setting: UA string switching. On the other side of the table, it brings a killer feature over from Honeycomb (found in settings > labs) called quick controls. Once enabled, the URL bar will disappear, giving you more screen real estate for browsing. To access the settings menu, address bar, tab bar, etc., a simple tap on either side of the screen will bring up a circular menu with all of the options right there.