Mobile Phones Platforms

Chrome for Android Beta was made Available just for ICS Devices

Chrome for AndroidGoogle’s Chrome browser, the rising star among all browsers, has finally come to Android. The catch is that you must be running Ice Cream Sandwich. The great thing is that it is fast, has spiffy transitions, intuitive tabbing, and synchronizing of everything, whether that is a plus or a minus.

Chrome hit the scene in 2008 and has received rave reviews ever since. The puzzling thing is why it has not been available for Android earlier. They are both Google products and both successes. Strange, but true.

Android has a trimmed down version of Chrome as its native browser, and they share a codebase, but it is nothing like the real thing. So getting the authentic Chrome for Android is a real treat.

Since Google Chrome only runs on Android 4.0+, many Android devices are excluded from the joy. Currently, the devices that are capable of running Chrome include Transformer Prime, Xoom, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus S. The reason for this limitation on the version of Android is clearly due to the hardware acceleration feature built into the latest edition of the operating system.

There are quite a few differences between the native browser and Chrome, not the least of which is the UI. In Chrome, tabs slide in and fade out to distinguish clearly between which tabs are doing what. The button for all tabs hosts the number of opened tabs. However, one super feature is the automated magnifying field that pops up to aid you in selecting the correct link when clicking in an area with many different links.

There is a controversial feature, though. This is the ability to synchronize everything from the browser with your Google account that has all the other Google programs. Every computer you own will have the same bookmarks, history, autofill data, and apps. Now your Android device will as well, excluding autofill and apps.

One of the coolest features, though, is having the same tabs opened on both devices at once. The tabs you have opened on you PC will show up as a list on your phone, that you can pick and choose which ones to open there. This is an easy way to get links or pages from one to the other quickly. Even in sleep mode, this works.

Chrome has the benefit of speed. This is part hardware acceleration and part software enhancements. For example, it pre-fetches the page it predicts you want to visit next. By default, this is turned on for Wi-Fi and off for mobile, but can be enabled for your phone. The problem is that all that pre-fetching can burn up your transfer limit.

Chrome lacks Flash, though. You can thank Adobe for that glitch. Chrome is also deficient in the Request Desktop Site that is a feature on the native Android browser. This allows the full website to load instead of a bare bones mobile version. Chrome for Android does not include extensions and it will coexist with the native browser for Android, until that is phased out.

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