Google released the Chrome browser for Android without fanfare this week, and I immediately installed it on the only Android device running Ice Cream Sandwich. It was quickly apparent that it was the best mobile browser on a phone that I have tried, and I wanted to see if would be even better on a tablet.
See also: Chrome Beta for Android demo on video
Colleague Jason Perlow put together a gallery of screen shots of Chrome running on a XOOM tablet, and those showed Chrome to be so good it would be worth any effort to get it running on my Galaxy Tab 10.1. My Tab wasn't running Ice Cream Sandwich (only version Chrome will run under), but that didn't stop me. I quickly found a custom ROM to install on the Tab and in about an hour I was happily testing Chrome on the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
What do I think of it? Awesome. I believe Chrome on Android is the best mobile browser on any platform. The reason is simple -- Chrome on the Android tablet is like Chrome on the desktop, and that's very good.
Chrome for Android has an advantage over Chrome on the desktop in that it has been designed from the ground up to be run by touch control. It has the benefits of a full desktop browser combined with the advantages a touch browser brings to the tablet. In a word, again, awesome.
My recent discovery that I am 90 percent "post-PC" was due to my increased work on a tablet running either Android or iOS. Mobile browsers have gotten good enough to do a lot of my web-based work using them, leaving the desktop browser behind more often than in the past. That was prior to the release of Chrome for Android; I can now probably leave the desktop behind for 95 percent of my work, as it comes even closer to bridging the gap between mobile and desktop browser.
I use Chrome on both the Windows and Mac desktops, as it meets my needs best. It is fast, handles lots of tabs with ease and with extensions is very customizable. Chrome for Android doesn't handle the extensions, but it meets or exceeds my requirements in most other areas. It is just a beta but already better than the standard Android browser, and even third party browsers. It is faster than the rest, too. I have already grown accustomed to always having access to Chrome tabs that are open on other devices.
Google has hit a home run with Chrome for Android, and left the competition behind. Those needing a good browser on a mobile platform will find that Android is now the first one to check into. Chrome just might be the deciding factor in your tablet purchase choice. Now if only all the other Android apps would get better.
- NPD: Android attracting more than half of new smartphone shoppers
- Google’s Android Market ‘Bouncer’ - Does it offer enough protection?
- comScore: Samsung, Android continued U.S. lead through December
- Review: Chrome, the Sweet 16 Web Browser?