Chrome for Android

MG Siegler reviews the brand-new and long-awaited Chrome for Android:

First of all, yes, Chrome for Android is here. Second, it’s only compatible with Ice Cream Sandwich which is currently on — wait for it — 1% of Android devices. But in an attempt to add some silver-lining to the 1% joke, I will say that Chrome for Android is of a much higher class than the previous Android browser, the aptly-named and horribly icon’d: Browser.

Browser is dead. Long live Chrome.

Thus ends the single most perplexing thing about Android: why its web browser was so horrendous. Conventional wisdom says Apple is the one pushing native apps and Google is the web-first company, but you’d never guess it judging by their respective mobile web browsers.

I installed Chrome on my Galaxy Nexus review unit and I concur with MG — it’s good. It still doesn’t zoom or scroll as well as Mobile Safari (not even close), but it’s so much better than the old Browser it isn’t funny. My biggest gripe with Chrome for Android is that it feels overly skewed toward search. Bookmarks are tucked several taps away, unlike Mobile Safari where they’re one tap away in a menu at the bottom of the screen. But overall, the interaction design is good: useful, attractive, obvious, and efficient.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012