It looks like Facebook is again testing a new bit of functionality in its Android app with a subset of users. After the most recent update, people are suddenly seeing a built-in browser that loads timeline links rather than booting you out to a full browser. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends heavily on how you feel about the Facebook app in general.
Developer Chris Lacy's last release was Link Bubble, an app that loads web pages in Chat Head-like bubbles that float on the screen until you need them. The newly released TapPath seeks to refine the mobile browsing experience even further by assigning different actions depending on how many times you tap a link.
When George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously replied, "Because it's there." I imagine a similar disposition possessed the developer of Wear Browser (better known for AIDE) when he shrugged his shoulders and said, "Well, I guess I'll put a browser on that watch." I say this because I can't think of a good reason anyone would do this. Still, it exists.
We're lucky to have capable mobile browsers on Android these days, but the experience of poking around on the web is still flawed in a number of ways. You're often stuck bouncing between two or three redirects because of apps, mobile sites, and link shorteners. Then there's the fundamentally modal experience of only having one thing up on the screen at a time. The result is lots of wasted seconds waiting for links to actually resolve at the final destination.
The Opera Browser has been chugging along for years with a small but dedicated fan base. That has certainly extended to mobile. In fact, that's probably Opera's biggest market now. This browser switched to using Chromium a while back, and today it's getting a big update. Not only does it get a new build of Chromium, the tablet layout is getting a redesign.
Mercury Browser has been one of the top alternatives to Apple's Safari browser on iOS for a while, and now the developers have finally ported it to Android. It might not be sewn into the fabric of your Google account like Chrome is, but Mercury Browser has a slick interface and plenty of advanced features.
Opera has been a stalwart of the desktop browser wars for many years now. It was besting Microsoft back when it was a viable business model to sell desktop browser licenses for cash money. The company has had some issues more recently, but mobile apps could be the bright spot, especially on days like today. Opera for Android has been updated to v15 with a ton of new features. It also brings a new version of the Chromium-based Ice platform.
You probably recognize the name Yandex by now. It's the Russian outfit that's been deploying alternatives to Google services in recent years, and has actually been doing a reasonably good job at it. After recently making the home screen replacement Yandex.Shell available to everyone, the company has set its sights on mobile browsers with Yandex.Browser.
This browser has all the basic features you'd expect in any modern app, but it does a few interesting things.