This morning Google released a beta version of the Chrome Browser for Android. It’s surprising that Chrome wasn’t always the browser on their mobile OS, but at least have the option. There are a few noteworthy things about this release compared to the stock browser.
First off, the Google Chrome beta is only available for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). This means if you’re in the majority of Android owners and have an earlier version, you’re out of luck. It’s this kind of limited support that demonstrates why its unacceptable for manufacturers to still be releasing handsets running Android 2.3.x. If Google themselves aren’t supporting earlier versions, it sends a clear message to application developers that 4.0 is where they should focus their attention.
Google Chrome beta for Android supports multiple tabs, incognito mode and syncing of favourite from the desktop version. The speed of Chrome, despite its beta tag is fantastic, its fast and response and also takes natural swiping gestures.
Another great addition is extra standards support. As noted in my Galaxy Nexus / Android 4.0 review, the stock browser suffered from an issue where web-page text would only span 50% of the available space. The Chrome beta does not have this issue.
The final noteworthy item with the Chrome browser is it’s lack of Flash support. Until now, Android had been the only mobile OS to support flash playback. The upside is that due to Apple’s refusal to support flash, most video providers have switched to HTML5 video. While there’s a lot more flash online than just video, it does send a strong message about the future.
Picture of the 50% issue in the stock browser of Android 4.0.
The Google Chrome beta is available from the Market on devices running Android 4.0. Download it now for free.