Google has released a beta version its highly acclaimed Chrome desktop browser for the Android platform and V3 has been putting it through its paces.
The browser is available to download for devices running the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform and aims to provide improved browsing speeds and synchronisation between devices.
V3 has been using the Chrome for Android Beta on the Asus Transformer Prime and the app is impressive in terms of speed and design, but does have some flaws.
The interface closely resembles the desktop version of Chrome, which has always been excellent in terms of speed and a clear and simple look. Tabbed browsing has already been introduced in the standard Android Webkit browser, so it is no surprise to see it included in Chrome.
The mobile browser allows users to open an unlimited number of tabs and they stack up nicely so that you can see exactly how many you have open.
There are some nice touches including the ability to zoom in on links, making them easier to hit on smartphones. When you sync your Google account, the browser will also open up pages that you have been viewing on another machine.
Adobe has confirmed that Chrome for Android will not support Flash as the firm has stopped developing the technology for mobile operating systems and is focussing on the HTML5 standard.
As mentioned, the Chrome app only supports the latest devices running Android Ice Cream Sandwich. This means it is limited to people with the latest kit, such as the Asus Transformer Prime tablet and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone. However, devices that have been rooted and have ICS installed onto them may also be able to get the app.
Considering that lack of Flash support, users are still going to be relying on Firefox and the stock Webkit browser to view video content.
Being a beta version, there are still bugs on Chrome for Android and we did experience crashes and needed to reload tab that were already open. These bugs will no doubt be corrected in further releases.
From what we've seen so far, it looks like Google has built Chrome for Android for the future. As the HTML5 standard comes into more frequent use, it is likely to be one of most used browsers on mobile devices.
We would recommend that Ice Cream Sandwich users download the app, but users with other Android handsets shouldn't feel too hard done by at present.
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