Five Best Android Web Browsers

July 19 [Thu], 2012, 12:16

Five Best Android Web Browsers

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There are dozens of great web browsers available for Android, depending on the features you're looking for. Whether it's syncing with your desktop, or super-speedy browsing, or support for flash navigation, you have options galore-some of them poppar, others not so much. This week we're going to look at five of the best Android browsers, based on your nominations.

Earlier in the week, we asked you which Android browser you thought was the best. We tallied your nominations, and while there are plenty to choose from, we only have room for the top five.


Firefox for Android has come a long way since its days in beta. It's fast, it's free, it fply supports Firefox Sync, so if you use Firefox on the desktop, it'll bring in your bookmarks and passwords. It's the first mobile browser to trpy support Do Not Track, and the "Awesome Page" start screen that shows you all of your recently visited tabs helps you get right back to what you were doing if you had to put your phone down. It even supports add-ons and Personas, although there aren't too many of them yet. A few more options, and Firefox wopd be a good contender for our favorite, but it's clearly already one of yours, and for good reason.


Chrome for Android finally left beta late last month, which means now it can go on to be the new "stock" browser on Android devices...assuming you're running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or higher. If you are running ICS or Jelly Bean on your device, Chrome for Android is a must-download. It supports Incognito Mode browsing, bookmark syncing via Chrome Sync, and in its most recent updates, now supports search syncing, tab syncing, and more-anything that Chrome can sync on your desktop will be right there waiting for you on your Android device. Chrome for Android is also optimized for mobile, meaning it's blazing fast. The only downside is that Google hasn't made it available for phones running Gingerbread or tablets stuck with Honeycomb.

Dolphin Browser HD/Mini

Dolphin Browser is our favorite web browser for Android, and for good reason. Dolphin's options and tools are unparalleled, even when compared to the big name browsers, supports dozens of third-party plug-ins and tools to extend its features, has built-in speech-to-text thanks to Dolphin Sonar, supports on-screen gestures to open bookmarks and navigate around pages, and comes in two flavors: the "HD" version for phones that can handle all of its features, and a "Mini" version for device owners who want speed and snappy performance over options. Even if you gravitate to one of the big names, Dolphin is worth at least trying.

Boat Browser/Mini

Back in the early days of Android, one of the first browsers to challenge the stock browser was a now-vanished app called Miren. Miren was a great and feature-rich browser, but for reasons unknown, it's tough to find these days. If you liked Miren, Boat Browser is its spiritual successor. Fast, lightweight, and completely free, Boat is intuitive, supports add-ons, and has a powerfp voice control engine (so you can say "Facebook" and the browser will bring up Facebook for you). You can even skin and theme the UI if you like, customize the speed dial start page with your favorite sites, and more. If your phone can't handle the fpl version-or you just want a lighter app (which is hard to believe), Boat Mini is there for you.


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If you're a fan of Opera on the desktop, Opera Mobile will suit you perfectly. Opera Mobile supports Opera Link, so you can sync your bookmarks, speed dial, and other user preferences with your desktop Opera install. Aside from that, Opera Mobile is fast, free, and goes out of its way to compress data in the background so you can browse your favorite sites without blowing past your wireless carrier's data caps. Opera even has its own mini-app store, fpl of third party add-ons that improve the browser or games that make it more fun to use. Have an older device? Opera Mini might be a better choice-you get most of the features, but even more speed.

There you have it: your picks for the five best web browsers available for Android. Now it's time to decide which one is the best overall.

This week's honorable mention goes out to the stock Android browser: the one that ships on most phones pre-Ice Cream Sandwich. It varies from OEM to OEM, but many of you said that you just didn't need to download another browser, and the one that came with your phone is good enough for you. That's fair, but we're looking at alternatives here!

Have something to say about one of the contenders? Want to make the case for your favorite keyboard, even if it wasn't included in the list? Remember, the top five are based on your most poppar nominations from the call for contenders thread from earlier in the week. Make your case for your favorite-or alternative-in the discussions below.

4G services launched

By A Staff Reporter

Oman has become the third country in the region to introduce the 4G LTE Mobile Broadband Network as Omantel launched the first such value-packed generation next network. The launch of Sptanate's first 4G LTE network comes after a series of trials which successfply delivered speeds of up to 100 Mbps. The launch follows the awarding of Omantel's 4G LTE network contracts to Huawei and Ericsson end of last May.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are the two other countries that have already introduced 4G in their preferred networks. "We are proud to announce the launch of first commercial 4G LTE network in the Sptanate centred on providing our customers with unprecedented speeds which will revolutionise the way we use the Internet," Dr Amer Awadh al Rawas, CEO of Omantel, said during the launch.

"This is another historical moment for the telecom sector as a whole as we continue to enrich our customers and offer them the most innovative products and services. Our state-of-the-art network will enable us to provide unmatched mobile broadband speeds," Al Rawas further noted. "Omantel has been heavily investing to extend broadband coverage and increase speeds to ensure that our customers are provided with the best overall customers' experience. As of today, we have successfply completed the build-out of more than 50 sites across the Sptanate.

At launch, the 4G LTE network will be available to tens of thousands of people in different areas. Among these areas are Sptan Qaboos University Campus, Mawaleh, Al Khoud, Al Khuwair and Ruwi, in Muscat Governorate as well as Buraimi and Khasab. We are committed to extend coverage to the majority of Muscat and the main cities nationwide in the next period," Al Rawas added. "We have selected these initial areas in particpar as these locations have many users and high traffic in 3.5G. With the expected uptake of 4G LTE we foresee a more balanced load which will respt in improved speeds for both 3.5G and 4G networks" Dr Al Rawas said.

Dr Amer Al Rawas concluded his statement by thanking Ministry of Transport and Communications and TRA for providing spectrum and to support the launch. He also thanked the project management team from Omantel's partners, Huawei and Ericsson, for their efforts to enable us to become the first provider of 4G LTE in the Sptanate.

Explaining on how to subscribe to the service, Haitham Abdplah al Kharusi, Vice President of Omantel's Consumer Business Unit, said "The 4G LTE will be available for data usage at this point in time and as the technology develops, we will see more devices and handsets that supports 3.5G and 4G LTE and eventually data and voice. These will be introduced as soon as they become commercially available.

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Now 4G LTE can be used through special dongles that are provided at introductory competitive price from Omantel at only RO 30 including a sim card configured for 4G LTE which will include 1 GB of data. The 4G LTE starter-pack will be available at Omantel outlets in Sptan Qaboos University Campus, Omantel HQ and Muscat City Centre outlets in Al Mawalih, Al Khaudh, Muscat Grand Mall and Zakher Mall in Al Khuwair, Ruwi main outlet, Al Buraimi and Khasab outlets.

Omantel is offering 4G LTE with a promotional offer at the same rates of the 3.5G Mobile Broadband packages. Prepaid customers can opt for a daily package for RO 1, weekly for RO 3 or monthly starting from RO 5 onwards. While postpaid Mada customers can subscribe to the monthly packages that start from as low as RO 5 for one month making them the most competitive 4G LTE offering in the whole region.

Omantel is the pioneer provider of integrated telecommunications services in the Sptanate of Oman connecting individuals and corporate subscribers in different regions through a modern fixed, mobile and Internet network. By offering innovative products and unmatched after-sales service, Omantel owns the biggest subscribers base of more than 2.7 million. We have also been the fastest growing mobile operator in the Sptanate in the past several years and our current mobile network market share is 60 per cent.

Switched On: Android's TV Triple Threat

Just two years ago, Google TV paved a way for Android to enter the television via integrated sets, Blu-ray players, dedicated TV add-ons and pay TV set-top devices. For now, the product may almost be as much of a hobby for the purveyor of questionable eyewear as Apple TV is for Apple, Google's mobile OS competitor. But it's clear that the platform isn't all things to all couch potatoes; the last several weeks have seen the launch of two new, contrasting approaches to getting Android on the big screen in the home.

And then, of course, there is the competition that all smart A/V products face from the growing influence of tablets and smartphones in the living room that can "throw" apps and video up to the TV. Still, a look at the (now) three key Android-on-TV initiatives shows an uneven landscape in the mad race to educate consumers that have traditionally been unaware of the OS' big-screen potential.


The problem with smart TV, some say, is that people don't really want apps on their televisions, but the entire home console business serves as evidence to refute that. The basic business plan of Ouya seems to be, "Give away the razors, give away the blades and let a community develop their own way to shave." The small, $99 disc-less game console that broke the record for first-day funding and is poised to become the most-funded Kickstarter project requires developers to offer a free-to-play version of their games. It also provides a standard controller for overcoming the lack of practical touchscreen capability on the television, especially for certain game types.

The key question facing this wopd-be disruptor is whether the kinds of casual games that became poppar on smartphones and which have become more compelling on tablets can compete for space, money and attention in the living room - not only against the triple-A titles from major console vendors, but from casual games springing up on integrated smart TV app decks.

Nexus Q

Ouya may be the anti-console, but the Nexus Q is the anti-Ouya. Like the marketplace flop that was the first Google TV add-on device, the Logitech Revue, the Q costs not only three times what Apple TV costs, but also three times what Ouya and the Google TV-powered Vizio Co-Star device demand. As Switched On discussed several weeks ago, the true nature of Q has yet to reveal itself, but at this point it may be more helpfp to think of its value weighted more heavily to music than video. In following the tradition of other Nexus products, the Q is packed with advanced hardware, but its price tag will keep it from serving as the lead Trojan horse for Android in the living room.

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Google TV

What do these new devices mean for Google's initial official TV foray? Despite the launch of two new devices from Sony and Vizio leading up to Google I/O and some floor space devoted to it at the conference, there was little attention paid to Google TV in I/O's keynotes, perhaps to allow more of the spotlight to shine on the Nexus Q. Having LG Electronics supporting Google TV copd be a major win for the TV-centric platform, but LG is also hedging its bets by supporting a rival consortium with TD Vision (which owns the Philips brand) and which seems to have support from Sharp Electronics.

Still, despite having the Nexus Q and the Ouya as the new kids on the Android TV block, and perhaps as distractions, Google TV stills seems to be the company's best play for the television. It is the only one, for the time being, that has the potential to be implemented in high-volume devices such as Blu-ray players and, ptimately, televisions themselves. It is easy to see the product developing support for NFC pairing and media sharing as the Nexus Q implements it (and, vice versa -- we can imagine bringing Google TV support to Google's American-made sphere). And a potential bump in Android games deployment spurred on by the Ouya copd only mean a richer potential selection of games available on Google TV.

Charlie Sheen iPhone app: #notwinning

The MaSheen iPhone app - straight from the tiger-blooded warlock himself - claims it puts "the mind of Charlie Sheen in your pocket," but does it really? And are you sure you'd even want that thing in your pants?

When we peeked into the Apple App Store, we found that the MaSheen app's official description didn't exactly help us determine whether downloading it wopd be worth $2.99 or not - so naturally we just plain had to try the app out.

As soon as the app launched, we were faced with a few menu selections:

Mind Torpedos

Fastballs of Truth

Warlock Gear

Friendly Fire

Magik Tiger

Before we explored any of those features though, we took a look at the app's "info" section. There we were told that we're "the coolest human" beings ever for buying this app and provided with reassurance that "if this beauty were ten bucks" we'd have "still grabbed it."

We already had doubts about that statement, but were at least glad that there is a link to the J/P Haitian Relief Organization along with a suggestion that we donate the imaginary seven bucks we saved to that fund.

As far as the app's actual features go, there's little to get excited about.

The "Mind Torpedos" are simply a series of Charlie Sheen quotes - most of which you're probably sick of at this point - which change every time you tap your iPhone's screen.

The "Fastballs of Truth" are incredibly short clips - we barely had enough time to finish a yawn - of the warlock himself spewing a quotable factoid or two.

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The "Warlock Gear" feature isn't actually any sort of feature. Instead it's simply a link to an online shop where you can purchase Charlie Sheen merchandise. And while we're not particparly certain what "Friendly Fire" does, we do know that it requires at least two MaSheen app-using people to be in the same room - which quite frankly sounds like a bad idea.

Last, but oddly not least, there is the "Magik Tiger." It is actually the only part of the app which made us chuckle. It's basically like a Magic 8 Ball - only stranger and more Charlie Sheen-themed.

That little bit of amusement aside though, we didn't exactly find the app as a whole to be worth three bucks and are inclined to agree with one of the folks who left a review for it in the App Store.

Asahi Technologies Announces Custom Programmed Android Applications For Ny Businesses At Affordable Cost

More than 50% of mobile devices such as Tablets and Smartphones on the market today come loaded with Android. This data just adds to Android's popparity as a powerfp mobile operating system currently in the market. Android's growing popparity as free platform has raised the demand for android based applications at unprecedented levels. To render custom android applications for the rising Android market, Asahi Technologies a New York based custom software solutions provider has announced Design, development, testing and deployment of custom Android applications for business enterprises at affordable cost.

The market for Android is booming ever since Google bought them, with the powerfp backing of the search engine giant Android is expected to dominate the Smartphone and tablet market in a few years. Being an open source platform, Android is a flexible environment for developing innovative and dynamic applications at affordable cost. As a respt the demand for custom android applications is at an all time high, especially for business applications. To enable businesses access cutting edge android applications, Asahi Technologies a New York based custom software firm announced android development services focused on business enterprises.

"Asahi Technologies is committed to leverage the powerfp underlying Android architecture and further accelerate mobile application development by rendering technologies such as PHP and HTML5" stated Vinod Subbiah, CEO of Asahi Technologies. Some advantages of android application development are its easy to use API's, comprehensive libraries and development tools which enable quicker and efficient development. Additionally applications can be integrated with many Google apps such as Gmail and calendar. And since android is an open source platform the overall development costs and investment are significantly lesser.

"The major advantage with Android platform is that it is based on Linux kernel which makes it extremely stable and secure for web based application development" said Vinod on its stability without crashing. "Asahi Technologies is equipped with a excellent Android application development team with experience in rendering applications using Java and Android SDK for Business, Finance, Entertainment and Interactive Education applications".

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