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.
For starters, private browsing. It should go without saying that whether you're looking for some—*ahem*—discrete fun, or just want to check out a site without storing any personal info, this is an absolute must. No word on when it will arrive, but it will. Read More
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.
What browser do you use on your phone? Stock Android (from before the days of Chrome as default), stock manufacturer, Chrome, or third-party? Read More
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.
Aside from Jetpack, this new version also includes a built-in network diagnostic tool that can help find and solve issues on your network, as well as "night mode," which lowers the brightness while browsing in the dark, and Dolphin Connect for sync. Read More
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. That's actually just an abbreviation for Input Method Editor, which is a fancy way of saying keyboard. So, it has improved support for third-party keyboards. Cool. Read More
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:
How fast? Dolphin Browser Beta's HTML-5 rendering is:
• 5 - 10X faster than the default Android browser
• 100% faster than Chrome (at times)
• Initially scored over 450 when tested on HTML5test.com. (HTML5test.com is an industry respected tool for testing a browser’s support of HTML5)
Judging by the few comments already in the Play Store at the time of writing this, it looks like those numbers aren't just smoke and mirrors - the early reports are claiming that it's quite a bit faster than previous versions of Dolphin. Read More
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. While the whole app has seen a redesign that's pretty slick, Read More
it still uses the old-style menu button interface that's been outmoded since the release of Ice Cream Sandwich it uses no deprecated menu styles whatsoever and conforms to the UI standards of whatever OS version it is running on.
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.
In a post to Reddit earlier this evening, TalkLittle announced that Reddit is Fun has finally been allowed back into the Play Store, after links to subreddits containing explicit material were removed. Read More
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 only feature I can think of that would make OverSkreen better is support for tabbed browsing. Read More
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. Read More