The web browser portion of the Android market is one of the most fiercely competitive markets since all users at one point or another need to browse the Internet on their devices. Although Android ships with a default web browser, the increasing demands users place on surfing the Internet has lead to the launch of more advanced browsers that offer added features and usability.
I have gathered here a list of some of the best alternative web browsers for Android:
Marketed as the world’s smartest mobile browser, Skyfire is arguably now the most social web browser in the planet. The app had a slight disadvantage in that it was released slightly later than its competitor apps but this did not deter it from having an excellent browsing experience that propelled it to the top. A big feature of Skyfire is that it has incorporated Flash, which gives users the ability to play Flash video within the browser. The use of flash on mobile devices has been a debatable topic within mobile OS circles but Skyfire seems to benefit from having it by default. Skyfire has also taken social media integration to the next level by incorporating popular social media networks such as Facebook into their browser giving users a seamless social media experience.
For a long time, Opera has been the most popular browser on all mobile devices. The parent company got into the mobile browser business quite early and seems to have learnt how to survive by releasing ever improving versions that adapt to changing mobile trends. A huge part of the browser’s success can be attributed to the technology behind its lightning fast ability to load pages and performing searches. Aside from that, the browser has compensated for the lack of Flash support by being simple, easy to use and stable. Other notable features are its ability to easily switch between tabs and the capacity to manage bookmarks.
Nearly everybody knows how good Mozilla Firefox is on PC so the mobile version of the browser, Fennec, carries a lot of expectations from users. The app is still relatively new in the Android platform but surprisingly uses the same technology as the desktop version, which includes support for HTML 5. One such feature is the ability to synchronize the mobile browser with the desktop version and thereby have the same password data, form data and bookmarks across different devices and computers. Fennec also supports tabbed-browsing, add-ons and bookmarks.
This app is actually an Android default web browser that has been improved by adding extra features to it. The browser has multi-touch zoom capabilities, saves cache to SD memory cards and also incorporates a great tabbed browsing experience. In addition to this, Dolphin offers support for design themes, which change the look a feel to create a visual appeal that suits different users. The app benefits from being built on top of the default Android browser that provides it a sense of stability that comes with the default Android platform.
In a nutshell, every browser on the Android platform seems to have a faithful following of users who find it difficult to make a switch to another browser. However, with every release, competing browsers are offering new and improved features that leave no comfort zone. It is quite easy for a web browser to be considered outdated and lose its followers to others browsers that cater to their needs.
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Article written by: Noah Amolo, a regular contributor for this site and a die-hard Android fan/PHP web developer.