Google launches Chrome for Android, a mobile version of the popular, speedy Web browser used by more than 200 million people worldwide. It's in beta and only available for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
(NASDAQ:GOOG) Feb. 7 launched a beta of Chrome for Android, a mobile version of
the popular browser that is used by more than 200 million people worldwide on
The catch is
that it is currently only available for smartphones and tablets based on the
latest Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system, which as media
outlets have noted powers only about 1 percent of existing devices.
number of beta gadgets running ICS at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show last
month, Samsung's Galaxy Nexus from Verizon Wireless is
the first and only smartphone to run ICS, and it's only been available since
December. That's why there are so few ICS users.
Google is focusing
on what's good in Chrome for Android, and that's pretty much what's good for
Chrome on the desktop: Speed, ease of use, simple sign-in, privacy and bookmark
rapidly scroll through Web pages, and Chrome for Android leverages the company's
Instant predictive search software to load top search results in the background
as users type. Browsing Web pages on a mobile touch-screen can be a chore, so
Google is offering a link preview feature that zooms in on links so that users
don't have to hunt and peck for links.
thanks to Google's cloud-based approach to computing, users who sign into
Chrome for Android from their handset or tablet will be greeted by the tabs
they left open on their computers. Tabs are also tailored for touch, naturally.
tabs so they fit just as naturally on a small-screen phone as they do on a
larger screen tablet," noted Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome, in a
blog post. "You can flip or swipe between an unlimited number
of tabs using intuitive gestures, as if you're holding a deck of cards in the
palm of your hands, each one a new window to the Web."
Google has carefully considered user privacy for mobile browsing, porting its
incognito browsing mode from desktop Chrome to Chrome for Android. Incognito
mode lets users browse in a session without Chrome, saving cookies, Websites and
other browser data.
Users who have
a Galaxy Nexus phone, (or perhaps a MIPS Novo7 ICS tablet), can download Chrome for Android from the Android Market,
though it is only available in select countries and languages.
For the best
drilldown into Chrome for Android, MG Siegler offers this must-read run-through,
cobbled from testing the mobile browser for the last few days.
out the early reviews from the Android Market, which confirm that Chrome for
Android is a beta product, subject to bugs:
smoothly. I would say a little bit smoother than stock ice browser on the Xoom.
Some elements do not work correctly. Some videos cannot be made full-screen.
Flash does not work. The one missing feature is the ability to change the user
agent (request desktop site)."
option to request a desktop view and no flash support are things that will make
me uninstall this app. I am being nice just by giving Chrome Beta a two-star
rating. Hopefully, flash support will be implemented in the future. I know they
want us moving away from flash content, but a majority of the Websites use
flash and not HTML5."
Given Chrome's speedy rise to the No. 3 desktop browser, it
will be interesting to see how rapidly its Android counterpart is adopted once
it becomes available on more ICS devices. Or, we should say, as more ICS
devices become available on which to use Chrome for Android.