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.
We often take mobile web browsing for granted, but sometimes the simplest of problems can turn it into a miserable experience. One of the early improvements to Android’s built-in web browser was a neat little feature that allowed text to re-wrap based on zoom level. It’s an obvious function, something that seems natural for reading more than a few words on a small screen. Unfortunately, a significant change in Android 4.4 resulted in the loss of this incredibly convenient capability for most web browsers and several applications.
Two new features are coming to Chrome for Android today, but they'll be old news if you have been running the beta of Chrome on your device. Bandwidth management and homescreen web shortcuts are both graduating from beta status, and will be showing up in the new version of stable Chrome.
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.
If there is one thing that I'm always interested it, it's new browsers for my tablet. I can honestly say that I've used nearly every available browser in the Market - both optimized for Honeycomb and not. While I currently switch between Dolphin for Pad and the stock browser, I've been longing for a Honeycomb optimized version of Firefox for some time. It looks the Mozilla Mobile team heard my quiet cries, as they showed off some of the features of the upcoming browser in an official blog post earlier today.
When I got my Galaxy Tab 10.1, one of the first apps I installed was Dolphin HD, and while it worked great, it still had that "phone" feel to it. Thankfully, the Dolphin Team has been hard at work prepping a version designed specifically for Android tablets (although, they're saying it's for "pads").
Since this is a beta version, it's clear that it's based off of Dolphin HD, as some of the menus still retain the phone vibe.