Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

Summary: The marriage of Android and Chrome -- just as the union of Android code for smartphones and Android code for tablets were merged -- will give Google stronger ammunition as it battles Apple's iPhone and iPad in the market, but time is of the essence. It is not clear when the Chrome for Android will be ready to ship and only a handful of Android 4.0 smartphones have shipped to date.

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The forthcoming Chrome browser for Android is a good move for Google as it attempts to shakes off extreme competition from Apple's iPhone/iPad, disappointing sales of Android tablets and worries about fragmentation of its two most popular open source projects.

On Tuesday, Google showed off a preview of the new Chrome browser for its latest mobile phone operating system, Android 4.0, which debuted last quarter. Google will not say when the browser update for Android 4.0 will appear.

Android+

Android+Chrome

What does it have? Much of what the desktop version has, notably an Omnibox for searching, seamless sign-in and sync of bookmarks and data, a toolbar with direct access to search, navigation and tabs, unimited tabs, support for many HTML5 features for enhanced web experience and remote debugging of web sites.

The developer opined in an online company video, the enhanced Chrome browser for Android on smartphones and tablets is designed from the ground up as a multiprocessor browser and is no "Chrome Lite.

The multiprocessor architecture of the browser allows for significant performance, navigation and simplicity of web computing. It has, for example, support for unlimited tabs and a web pages stack for organization on a small screen.It also has excellent syncing capabilities with the desktop edition.

"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," said one Google blog about the preview Chrome browser for Android on Feb 7. "Seamless sign-in and sync so you can take your personalized web browsing experience with you wherever you go, across devices."

Key new mobile oriented features include font boosting for better viewing of text on small devices and Link Preview, which zooms in on keyword links, especially if they are tightly snug on a page, and displays them in a translucent sidebar.

The Chrome browser also offers "incognito mode for private browsing and fine-grained privacy options (tap menu icon, ‘Settings,’ and then ‘Privacy’) and:

View open tabs: Access the tabs you left open on your computer (also signed into Chrome)—picking up exactly where you left off.

Get smarter suggestions: If you visit a site often on your computer, you'll also get an autocomplete suggestion for it on your mobile device, so you can spend less time typing.

Marrying the two projects is a no-brainer from a marketing point of view. Chrome is among the top web browsers and Google's other top open source project -- Android -- has been a big hit on the smartphone.

The move unifies the code base and rationalizes two of the company's open source projects that competed directly in some instances. ChromeOS (with Chrome browser) and Android with its own nondescript web browser were both designed for tablets.

Has this hurt Google's tablet aspirations? I don't know, but I'd much rather have one horse to bet on to compete against Apple's astronomically successful iPad.

Product consolidation is good for Google. The debut of Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich, for both the tablet and smartphone last quarter, was another good move to stop fears about fragmentation. Previously, Google had two different Android code bases for its smartphone and laptop.The emergence of a clear winner will send a strong signal to OEMs which Google tablet OS to back and to consumers which tablets to buy.

The only big problem is product delivery, it seems. To date, one a handful of OEMs have delivered Android 4.0 smartphones -- including the Nexus Galaxy -- and Motorola's next-generation of ICS-based Droids is only promised for sometime in the first half of 2012.

Are Google and Motorola awaiting word from the government on their proposed merger before launching ICS devices?

"Ice Cream Sandwich brings an entirely new look and feel to Android. It has a redesigned user interface with improved multi-tasking, notifications, Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC support and a full web browsing experience. With Ice Cream Sandwich, Android has been rethought and redesigned to be simple, beautiful and useful," one Motorola exec said in a blog. "Ice Cream Sandwich introduces innovations such as Face Unlock to unlock your phone, a Data Manager to control your network data usage, and advanced multimedia and imaging features. Ice Cream Sandwich also provides developers with new APIs, unified U.I for phones and Tablets, and improved performance by enabling developers to leverage hardware graphic acceleration."

One Verizon spokesman could not say when the update will be available for a handful of existing smartphones.

"We don’t have an timeframe at this moment for Ice Cream Sandwich but so far to my knowledge the following devices will get the Ice Cream Sandwich update: Droid Bionic, Droid Razr, HTC Rezound, Spectrum by LG, Droid Xyboard, Motorola Xoom and Droid 4," said Motorola Mobility spokesman Albert Aydin.

Topics: Laptops, Android, Browser, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets

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71 comments
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  • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

    I have two Android devices, a Samsung Galaxy SII and a Lenovo tablet, neither is running ICS. This announcement may be exciting for some, but it may make more of us wishful that we had delayed our purchases.

    I agree about the delivery problem. OEMS and ISPS need to do something to fix the problem or it will drive people the other way. You cannot keep on churning out an excellent product and withhold upgrades without consequences. People start to question their decisions while ISPs consider trying to milk more from the customer and those looking on from the sidelines decide not to play that game.

    I should get an upgrade to ICS, but when is anybody's guess. If not, then I will root my phone and tablet and do it myself. It should not have to be that way, but users may have to do that en masse to get any attention to the problem.
    linuxcanuck@...
    • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

      @linuxcanuck@... By June, it is likely you will not be complaining. This is the nature of devices that are not Google Experience Devices.
      slickjim
    • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

      @linuxcanuck@... <br>As the lady said "it's only for a handful of android phones".<br><br>With ICS at 1%, make that a thimble-full.<br><br>You gotta love fragmentation.
      Englishmole
      • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

        @Englishmole You do? I own a few Android devices, and I'm getting sick of it... But then again, what's the alternative?
        thoiness
      • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

        @Englishmole
        remember that a first gen ipod touch, iphone 2g can't even get ios 4 let alone ios 5. the iphone 3g and maybe the 3gs are stuck on ios 4. so whats different with the idevices?
        all of these devices have an insidious feature built in called planned obsolescence. don't only finger the droid devices.
        mikep123
      • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

        @Englishmole Mikep123 is correct and let's not forget that SiRI isn't backward compatible either. Considering that was the 4S' main selling point, iOS has "fragmentation" as well.
        mrxxxman
    • Microsoft calls this 'upgrade rights'

      @linuxcanuck@... And, later this year, we will likely see Windows 8 upgrade rights offered to those purchasing a PC with Windows 7 (in this case, it doesn't mean that many will choose to upgrade).

      Did either Samsung or Lenovo provide you with upgrade rights when you purchased your Android-based devices? If not, then they are not obligated to offer you an upgrade to ICS. However, they *are* obligated to provide you with both bug fixes and security patches for whatever version of Android your devices shipped with. In addition, app developers are obligated to do the same with their apps running on whatever Android versions you are using.

      With Android, at least there are after-market options like CyanogenMod for those wanting and/or needing the latest and greatest features.

      P.S. In the meantime, give Opera a spin on your Android-based devices. It's also a good web browser.
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

        @Rabid Howler Monkey I'll tell you what cheeses me off: The least they could do is produce an upgrade path. Regardless of whether MS gives you a free upgrade or not, the option is always there (albeit, for a cost). With Android, you're just stuck with what you got for life, unless the community can manage to hack one together.

        I'm waiting to see what happens in the Win 8 tablet world before paying for any more Android products. I grow tired of the game.
        thoiness
      • Thanks - I did

        @Rabid Howler Monkey
        Doesn't offer much that the built in browser does not provide.

        Wile I'd like to have ICS, it isnt a must have for me.
        When it comes Ill take it. Till then, my phone works great as is.
        SGS2 Skyrocket.
        rhonin
    • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

      why is this even a top story.... there are many browsers for the android and that is a good thing as each offers something different..... the only key feature is being able to MASK the browser as coming from a desktop not a tablet/phone so u dont have to deal with the site being limited
      bspurloc
      • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

        @bspurloc Well, it could be a top story to those 3 people that actually own a device that this would apply to?
        thoiness
      • fullsites on Webkit

        @bspurloc
        you can already do this on the standard Android Webkit browser.
        type about:debug in the URL box
        then menu key--->more--->settings--->UAstring
        and set it to desktop
        you will now get full desktop sites and not get redirected to mobile/wap sites.
        warboat
    • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

      @linuxcanuck@...
      I just purchased Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime running ICS and it's great! I would match it against a current IPad anyday. IMHO, the Transformer Primer is a better Pad than the current IPad. Hopefully Paula will do a review of it someday soon.
      mocnarf
    • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

      @linuxcanuck@... Uncanny, as I also have two Android devices: a Samsung Galaxy S II and a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet. Both have been confirmed by Samsung and Google, respectively, as going to be upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich. But in the case of my Galaxy S II, that update (originally released by Google some months ago) will have to be approved and modified by Samsung (which is happening embarrassingly slowly) and finally approved and modified by my local Alaskan cell provider (which is sadly unlikely to ever happen). Google needs to find out how to get updates to phones supposedly running "their" operating system. With so much control in the hands of ISPs and OEMs, there's no incentive to allow users to update "old" hardware.

      Making Google Chrome available only to the latest version of Android may be a ploy by Google to try to encourage ISPs/OEMs to offer updates; unfortunately, ISPs/OEMs are going to instead use it as leverage to encourage users to go out and buy the latest phones.
      chilly hellion
    • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

      @linuxcanuck@...
      It's frustrating to me: The least they could do is produce an upgrade path. With Android, you're just stuck with what you got for life, unless the community can manage to hack one together.

      I'm waiting to see if they come up with an upgrade for "Motorola's star the Atrix," what happens in the Win 8 tablet world before paying for any more Android products. I grow tired of getting stuck with expensive devises that are not up-gradable...
      yuvshevach@...
  • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

    Saw the headline and new it had to be Stevie Boy. Yep it's the year of linux again and betamax is going to make a comeback.
    Blogsworth
    • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

      @Blogsworth
      Stevie Boy didn't write this, Paula Rooney did.
      Loverock Davidson-
    • So you didn't read this article very carefully.

      @Blogsworth
      This article was written by Paula Rooney. If you're going to shoot the messenger, you should [i]at least[/i] aim at the [i]correct[/i] messenger.
      Zogg
      • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

        @Zogg Yes well written and not the normal SJVN BS garnered to get hits...
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Google's Android+Chrome likely a winning combo

        @Zogg People like Blogsworth don't need facts.
        anothercanuck