Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
It was always a bit baffling that Google decided to ship Android with a stock web browser when Chrome has been absolutely crushing it on the PC.But starting today, Google has a fresh (beta) version of Chrome made specifically for Android phones and tablets.
Click here for screenshots >
The downside: It only works if you have the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. Right now, Ice Cream Sandwich only runs on a minuscule number of Android devices. (About 1% of them at last count.) You probably don’t have it.
That’s a shame, since a lot of Android phone owners who bought their phones last year are getting screwed by smartphone makers and will probably never get Ice Cream Sandwich. They won’t get to try Chrome either.
Luckily, we do have a phone running Ice Cream Sandwich on hand to test the Chrome app out.
We like it.
Chrome is simple, lightweight, and syncs perfectly with the desktop version of the browser using your Google Account. As soon as you log in all your bookmarks, open tabs, search history, etc. are there waiting for you.
It also handles tabs a lot better than just about every other mobile browser we’ve used. A simple swipe to the left or right lets you cycle through open tabs as if they were stacked like a deck of cards. It’s a lot more satisfying than Ice Cream Sandwich’s default browser that makes you go through at least two taps to start cycling through browser windows.
Keep reading for a full look at the new Chrome for Android.
It looks very clean. The bar at the top is used for both search and typing in URLs, just like Chrome's desktop version.
Tapping the icon in the top right of your screen gives you the option to start a new tab. Let's do it.
From the blank tabs page you have a menu bar at the bottom. The first icon gives you this screen of open tabs. Let's see what the star does.
It's your bookmarks! They're organised into folders so you can keep track of what you bookmark on your phone or mobile device. Let's tap the desktop folder.
All our bookmarks from the desktop version of Chrome are waiting for us. Now for the final icon with the arrows. What's up with that?
Ah! It's the feature that lets you sync open tabs on your desktop to your phone. But first we have to boot up Chrome on our desktop and log in as this message says.
Boom! The open tabs appear almost instantly. If we're on the go, we can pick up our web browsing where we left off.
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